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Chlorhexidine mouthwash

Dr Roger Henderson
Reviewed by Roger HendersonReviewed on 29.04.2024 | 2 minutes read

Chlorhexidine mouthwash is used to treat inflammation, swelling and bleeding caused by inflamed or infected gums (gingivitis). It works by killing microorganisms in the mouth, and can be used to speed up the recovery and reduce the pain from mouth ulcers, irritation caused by dentures and other painful mouth conditions. You should speak to your dentist or pharmacist for advice before starting using it for the first time.

Chlorhexidine can be purchased from supermarkets and pharmacies either as the branded version Corsodyl or as a generic version. It is important to be aware that chlorhexidine can cause teeth staining and is for short term use only. Maximum treatment is 30 days unless directed by a Dentist or Doctor. Chlorhexidine can also appear in toothpaste’s and is used in other skin disinfectants too.

Who is it for?

Chlorhexidine is a highly effective treatment for inflamed or infected gums and other mouth conditions. It can be used by children and adults over 12 years, however it can also be used by children under 12 if under supervision by a dentist or doctor.

How do you use it?

Thoroughly rinse your mouth for about one minute with 10 ml twice daily. Spit out after use. For the treatment of inflamed or infected gums (gingivitis), a course of around one month is usually advised. In the case of mouth ulcers, treatment should be continued for 48 hours after the ulcers have healed. If treating infections related to dentures, they should be cleaned and soaked in Corsodyl Mouthwash for fifteen minutes twice daily. Chlorhexidine mouthwash may not be compatible with some ingredients in toothpaste; therefore, it is recommended to thoroughly rinse your mouth before using toothpaste.

Should anyone avoid taking it?

Chlorhexidine should not be used by children under 12 years unless directed by a Dentist or Doctor. Severe gum infections can develop into a more serious form of gum disease for which chlorhexidine will not treat. If you have severe symptoms or have had symptoms for a long time that are not improving, you should see your dentist for review. While chlorhexidine appears to be safe in pregnancy and breastfeeding, it should only be used under advice from your dentist or doctor.

Are there any side-effects?

As with any medications, some people are bound to get some unwanted side effects. The most common is discolouration of the teeth and tongue. The stain is not permanent and can largely be prevented by reducing the amount of staining foods like tea, coffee or red wine consumed.

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Dr Roger Henderson
Reviewed by Roger Henderson
Reviewed on 29.04.2024
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