Hydrogen peroxide is one of the simplest chemicals in chemistry. Its chemical formula is being written as H2O2. Thus, it actually looks like a water molecule with an extra oxygen atom but the addition of an extra O makes a lot of difference. It was the French chemist Louis Jacques Thenard that first reported the chemical in 1818. It was discovered that this peroxide was produced naturally when water droplets mixed with ozone (O3) in the high parts of the atmosphere. As a result, scientists believe that the compound may occur naturally and may be present in minute quantities in lakes and streams. In fact, animals produce small amounts of this compound to destroy pathogenic microorganisms. The production of the peroxide sterilizes drinking water by destroying viruses, bacteria, fungi, and other harmful microorganisms. This compound gives the body more oxygen which is vital for metabolism. It can be used as a mouthwash and antiseptic.

BAD BREATH

Bad breath, or halitosis, is a condition wherein the person suffering from it experiences bad odor from his/ her mouth. It is a common cause for embarrassment and many adults suffer from it time and again while some of them experience it on a regular basis. It can also be caused due to some illnesses such as common cold, tonsillitis, or throat infections. Smells that originate from the mouth are due to the accumulation of anaerobic bacteria as a result of drying of the mouth (xerostomia), the intake of certain drugs that may induce xerostomia, tooth and gum problems and occasionally due to poor oral hygiene. The accumulated bacteria flourishes in a state of lack of oxygen and act on food debris gathered at that site and release volatile sulfur compounds such as hydrogen sulfide (that smells like rotten eggs), methyl mercaptan and dimethyl sulfide (that smell like rotten vegetables) and cause foul odor from the mouth.

hydrogen peroxide for bad breathTo treat halitosis arising out of the mouth, the conditions that are causing the accumulation of the bacteria should be treated. If the condition is attributed to conditions such as xerostomia, flow of saliva is improved by the use of lozenges and in extreme cases by the use of a salivary substitute. If the bacterial accumulation is due to teeth or gum problems, the correction of the underlying cause reduces the occurrence of bad breath. The dentist treats the decay with corrections such as fillings or crowns that prevent further accumulation of food and bacteria at that site. Likewise, the correction of gum problems by proper treatment methods will help reduce the condition and thus reduce halitosis. The dentist may also undertake the irrigation of the gum areas with antiseptics such as hydrogen peroxide to reduce bacterial accumulation and thus treat the problem. If bad breath is caused due to poor oral hygiene, better hygiene methods should be followed to reduce it. Proper tooth brushing, flossing, cleaning the tongue and rinsing the mouth with some mouthwash are some of the hygiene methods to be followed to reduce bacterial and food accumulation. In some cases, an extreme cleaning will do the trick.

Care has to be taken in changing the brush frequently and to store it properly in order to prevent bacterial buildup on it. Some people have the habit of storing the brush in substances such as hydrogen peroxide to help in preventing the accumulation of bacteria that causes it. This is also used as a mouthwash to help reduce the bacteria responsible for bad breath Hydrogen peroxide acts by releasing oxygen and killing the bacteria. This is used in a diluted form and gargled in the mouth for around 45 seconds. This use of hydrogen peroxide acts as a temporary measure. It is very important to remember that the continuous use of hydrogen peroxide as a measure to reduce bad breath may be harmful for the teeth. So it should be used with regular breaks in between to avoid causing undue harm. This, when used to kill bad breath leaves an unpleasant taste in the mouth that can be reduced by the use of some other mouthwash.

Many people believe hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) is most often or commonly used as a disinfectant. Looking at peroxide use in industry, the highest volume users are textile, paper and pulp producers while peroxide is used as an algaecide and decontaminant in applications from water gardens to commercial aquariums and aqua culture farms, it has not been a major player in medical, disaster or other disinfection applications for many decades.

This nontoxic, environmentally friendly and nonpolluting chemical compound is being used for medical equipment sterilizing. Additionally, new research (circa 2004 and since) has proved the efficacy of using hydrogen peroxide in dental sterilizing procedures. While dentist may use hydrogen peroxide to bleach teeth, chances are, he or she is not using it to clean their equipment.

EARS

Solve ear infections fast. Don’t just run to the doctor right away for antibiotics to clear up that ear infection, use hydrogen peroxide. Ear infections develop when mucus builds up in the ear canal and begins to harbor bacteria. Just a few drops of very diluted hydrogen peroxide in the ear can clear up an ear infection quickly, as the liquid makes its way through the gunk to kill the infection. It is super important to use 3% hydrogen peroxide for this and even to dilute more with water. Just put 6-8 drops in the ear, then rest the opposite side of the head downward. After about five minutes, turn the head over onto an old towel and let the excess run back out. One can do this a few times per day to resolve an infection. Ask a doctor before trying though, especially on children.

hydrogen peroxide for ear infectionIt has been used to stop swimmers ear. Our kids are on swim team and veteran swimmers have recommended mixing equal parts hydrogen peroxide and white vinegar and using after swimming to ward off swimmers ear. We also do this when anyone swims in lake water or other non-salt water to avoid swimmers ear. When dropping the solution into the affected ear, the head should be tilted sideways so as to allow the peroxide to slide down to where the buildup is. Finally, although one may be anxious to see results the first time being used, it may very well take a few days for the blockage to become soft enough to become dislodged. However, one should contact a doctor if one is still trying to use it to remove ear wax after four days to see if there is a more serious problem. (Not everyone should be concerned about removing wax, though. Because of changing views about how the body uses it, one prominent school of ENT [ear, nose, and throat] doctors issued new guidelines in 2008 stating that it should not be removed unless it is causing hearing loss or earaches. Prior to 1960, it was thought that it was extraneous; but then studies began to show the antibacterial properties of cerumen [the scientific name for earwax]. It also has anti-fungal properties, being found to inhibit the growth of two fungi that commonly cause ear infections).

A few last minute tips. Be sure to use warm water when flushing out the ear canal, as cold water can cause dizziness or even nausea. And once finished removing wax from the ears, stop using the hydrogen peroxide ear wax removal kit. The skin inside the ear canal is very sensitive, and repeatedly flushing it out with powerful chemicals is bound to cause irritation sooner or later. If one finds that there is a consistent problem with excessive ear wax, contact the doctor for the best solution.

WHITEN TEETH

Hydrogen peroxide in professional teeth whitening procedures is typically used as a means of achieving the task of removing stains from the teeth in a fast manner. This type of peroxide is used in laser teeth whitening procedures. It is contained in the teeth whitening gel that is placed on the teeth. The gum tissue is typically protected from the bleaching gel through the means of a small rubber piece or a special gel that works to neutralize the high levels of hydrogen peroxide.

The oral rinse also helps to whiten teeth, as hydrogen peroxide is a gentle bleach. You can also make a paste with activated charcoal and 3% food grade hydrogen peroxide and use as a tooth polish to whiten teeth. Dip a clean, wet toothbrush into the powdered charcoal (or dump a capsule of charcoal on the toothbrush). Lean over the container of charcoal and quickly put the charcoal covered toothbrush in the mouth. Brush in small, gentle circles for 2 minutes, spit carefully and rinse really well.

HOME REMEDIES

Hydrogen peroxide is a powerful oxidizing agent, which means it works especially well on all organic (food, soil, plant, blood, or other naturally produced) stains and soiling. In its oxidizing role it needs a little time (usually 15 to 20 minutes) to fully oxidize the stained or soiled surface. Next, remember that in stronger concentrations (anything over around 6% solutions) it is a bleaching agent. So, rather than using stronger concentrations for cleaning, simply allow standard 3% solution to work for a few minutes to achieve cleaning without any bleaching effect.

hydrogen peroxide for cleaningFinally, if bleaching is the goal, consider using a dry formulation of hydrogen peroxide mixed with warm to hot water for best results. Dry formulation hydrogen peroxide is sold as sodium percarbonate powder or granules. It is the basis for many “oxygen cleaners” such as “OxyClean”, “OxoBrite” and others in the marketplace, where it is normally a 70 to 74% sodium percarbonate mix with soda ash, or “sal soda”. However, for full strength bleaching, look for pure sodium percarbonate. Sodium percarbonate is inexpensive, nontoxic, and highly effective at cleaning many household surfaces, for laundry and can even be used to clean cement or concrete walkways, flooring and Patios.

Hydrogen peroxide leaves absolutely no residues, toxins or chemicals in the environment. It breaks down to water and oxygen, even while disinfecting and killing dangerous bacteria and viruses. Unlike many new “anti-bacterial” cleaners now found to leave up to 70 percent of their active anti-bacterial agents behind, showing up in waterways, on agricultural lands and in forests and other natural environments, hydrogen peroxide truly “disappears without a trace” as a natural consequence of its exposure to the environment.

So, in a major (or minor) house cleaning project looming before one, consider swapping out those expensive toxic cleaners with simple, effective and perfectly environmentally friendly hydrogen peroxide – in wet or dry solutions.

CAUTION

Before using hydrogen peroxide, tell the doctor or pharmacist if allergic to it; or if there are other allergies. This product may contain inactive ingredients, which can cause allergic reactions or other problems. This product is safe to use during pregnancy. It is unlikely that this product passes into breast milk. Consult the doctor before use during pregnancy and breast-feeding.

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