Expiration dates for milk and meats are entirely different than those on lotions and lipsticks. Still, with the exception of baby formula, even food expiration dates aren’t federally regulated.
Some dental products have expiration dates and some don’t. It’s up to the manufacturer to decide. Find out if you should toss old floss or past-due paste:
While its effectiveness is long lasting, mint-flavored flosses will lose flavor after 1 year.
2 years after manufacture date
When your find your toothpaste empty, you rummage through toiletries to find that long lost tube from 2011. It’s not dangerous to use, but after 2 years, flavor and fluoride fade. Not only will your mouth miss out on mint, fluoride won’t stick to your teeth as well as a timely tube. Toss it so your toothpaste can live up to its full plaque-fighting potential.
2-3 years after manufacture date
Most mouthwashes contain alcohol, or some other type of antiseptic. Though this is the active ingredient, rinses also have a high water percentage. After 2-3 years that antiseptic starts to dissolve. This leaves the mouthwash with even more water, thus increasing the chance for bacterial growth.
3-4 months after opening
An unopened toothbrush never expires. But once in use, it becomes less effective over time. Toss your brush when it starts to fray—about every 3-4 months.
Storage and handling also affect whether a product remains good. As a general rule, if texture has changed or it doesn’t look like it should, throw it out!