I am told gargling with peroxide will kill bacteria in your mouth and throat. Is this true? Is this a safe way to cure bad breath? What other remedies have proven to be most effective?
Peroxide may kill some bacteria in the throat, but whether you should be trying to kill them is another matter entirely. We are absolutely besieged these days by ads for anti-bacterial products — soaps, detergents and household cleansers, cutting boards, bandages, toys, cosmetics, even ice packs. It is understandable that many people have concluded that the only good bacterium is a dead bacterium. But it just is not so.
The body is filled with bacteria and other organisms that do a great deal of good and some that can hurt you. The good bacteria do things like help with digestion and keep disease-causing organisms in check. When you are healthy, the microscopic flora and fauna in your body are in a state of balance. Wiping out bacteria completely may upset that balance and cause other problems.
Ask yourself why you want to kill the bacteria in your throat. Do you have a sore throat? Chances are, it is from a viral infection and killing bacteria will not help. For a bacterial infection, such as strep throat, your doctor will prescribe antibiotics. A warm salt-water gargle or throat lozenges will help soothe the pain.
Perhaps you are using the peroxide gargle for bad breath or Halitosis. Peroxide-containing mouthwashes are available over-the-counter and they are safe to use, as is the 3 percent hydrogen peroxide solution that you probably keep in your medicine cabinet. There may be an underlying dental or medical reason for chronic bad breath, though, and you should talk with your dentist or doctor about it.
To sum up, hydrogen peroxide is safe for gargling and you may like it because it makes your mouth feel fresh. But having bacteria in your throat is no cause for alarm and you need not go on a crusade against them.