Does Mouthwash Expire?

Every industrialized product containing organic elements, active ingredients, or chemical compounds is bound to expire someday. Logically, this applies to medicines and oral care products.

As you have probably guessed, like other daily oral care products, every mouthwash has an expiration date. Even if this date is not labeled on the mouthwash bottle, it will usually expire after 2-3 years from its manufacture date.

Unfortunately, an expired mouthwash is not likely to show any abnormal signs as expired milk would. However, although it might look and smell normal, expired mouthwashes can only produce little to no therapeutic effect. Furthermore, they could even be harmful to your body.

In this article, we'll talk about the mouthwash's expiration date and what could happen if you use them after they expire.

Why does mouthwash expire?

Although a large portion of most mouthwashes is water, all these products contain a wide range of elements and active ingredients. These ingredients are responsible for providing a therapeutic effect, such as cavities prevention, gum disease treatment, or teeth whitening.

The most common active ingredients found on mouthwashes include fluoride, alcohol, chlorhexidine, and peroxide. These active ingredients can be stable and provide their intended function only for a couple of years. Afterward, they begin to dissolve and water down the mouthwash. Therefore, failing to give any beneficial effect. Once this happens, the mouthwash is considered expired and serves no other purpose than water.

The average lifespan of mouthwash is 2-3 years. Furthermore, the expiration date on therapeutic mouthwashes is regulated by the FDA. The dates labeled on the bottle indicate the time both its manufacturer and the FDA can guarantee the mouthwash efficiency.

Is it ok to use expired mouthwash?    

It is highly recommended to avoid using expired mouthwash. The active ingredients begin to dissolve after the labeled date. This causes the mouthwash to water down and lower its efficiency.

Furthermore, the mouthwash is prone to suffer bacterial growth once the alcohol and other active ingredients are lost. This could make it harmful and unsafe to use.

Lastly, the instability of the expired mouthwash can affect the plastic bottle. After a long time, the bottle can begin to break down and leave microscopic plastic particles on the liquid. Although there is no current evidence of the precise effects of these microparticles, they could be harmful to your overall health.

For these reasons, you should check the expiration date on your mouthwash if you haven't used it in a while. Additionally, here are some recommendations you can follow to prolong its life use:

  • Keep your mouthwash in a cold and dark place. This measure can help prevent the active ingredients from breaking down rapidly.
  • Maintain the container closed while not used to avoid contamination.
  • Avoid taking the mouthwash directly from the plastic bottle.
  • Follow your product instructions of use and your dentist's indications.

How long does mouthwash last after the expiration date?

There is no estimated time of how long a mouthwash can last after its expiration date.

In most food-related cases, you can still consume the product after a few days of the expiration date. Smelling it and a small try can tell you if you can still eat or drink it.

On the contrary, mouthwash behaves similarly, but they're not the same. These oral health products can still provide some therapeutic effects after a few days of their expiration date. However, how long it remains safe and efficient depends on the brand, its active ingredient, and other components.

Nonetheless, it is essential to understand that mouthwashes are constantly suffering a breakdown process. This means their efficiency slowly decreases until they reach their expiration date.

There is no way to tell if your expired mouthwash is still good to use since there are usually no changes in its smell, color, or taste. These changes traditionally appear after a long time has passed from its expiration date only.

Therefore, it is better just to avoid using expired mouthwashes. This is the healthiest and easier way to prevent complications and undesired effects.

What happens if you use expired mouthwash?   

Fortunately, nothing grave happens in most cases. They just won't provide the therapeutic effect they were created for. Therefore, using them won't improve your oral health.

Also, using expired mouthwash means you don't get cavities prevention effects. Furthermore, it won't help you treat gum disease or other oral conditions.

Furthermore, on some occasions, the bacterial growth caused by the breakdown of the active ingredients could be harmful. It can potentially lead to infections and other health issues.

Therefore, you should avoid using expired mouthwash and get a new one instead. This way, you are guaranteed to get all its benefits and improve your oral health without any potential dangerous risks. Furthermore, you can add a water flosser to your oral care routine and use it before rinsing with mouthwash. In this manner, no food leftovers are left between your teeth, and the mouthwash can reach every portion of them.

If you are looking for a high-quality water flosser, the Oclean W10 is all you need. This portable water flosser can perform up to 1,400 pulses per minute, allowing you to achieve outstanding results.


Oclean W10


As long as you use it appropriately and your therapeutic mouthwash is not expired, you should be able to maintain healthy and strong teeth and gums.

*Cover image from Freepik@garetsvisual and @studiogstock, we will delete it if constitutes infringement *

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