When we shop for dental care products, we trust that the items we select will strengthen our teeth and protect us from cavities. However, it’s also important to research what you use and talk with your dentist about the best products for your individual needs. A newer product on the market is that of Chlorhexidine mouthwash. Likely you won’t recognize this mouthwash by its active ingredient, but it’s easy to differentiate it from other varieties on the shelf. Chlorhexidine mouthwash is marketed as gum care or Periodontal care mouthwash. Its active ingredient is designed to fight gum inflammation. However, new research suggests you may want to discontinue use of this product for now. Let’s investigate this new warning for Chlorhexidine mouthwash.
Chlorhexidine, also known as Chlorhexil, is a newer type of mouthwash only released to the public market in the past couple years. Among the new warning for Chlorhexidine mouthwash, it's important to understand how it works and what side-effects come with use. It is formulated to kill certain bacteria in the mouth. This in turn reduces gum inflammation and therefore fights conditions like gingivitis and early gum disease.
All of this sounds good in theory, but Chlorhexidine does carry several side effects. First, it may stain your teeth more than you are used to through casual consumption of beverages like coffee. Regular visits to your dental hygenist can remove these stains, but it's something well worth noting, especially if cosmetic appearance is one of your dental concerns. Next, it can increase the amount of tartar buildup on your teeth. This is less than ideal if you don't receive regular dental cleanings. Worst yet, some users have reported changes in the way food tastes after using Chlorhexidine. Unfortunately for a select few patients, this effect has been permanent. Needless to say, it's important to talk carefully with your dentist before using Chlorhexidine.
New Chlorhexidine Studies
Now that we've covered the basic use and side-effects of Chlorhexidine, let's turn to the new warning for Chlorhexidine mouthwash. It's time for a little science lesson. A recent study has shown Chlorhexidine is effective at killing some harmful bacteria, which is good for your mouth. However, it may also stimulate growth of a certain lactate-producing bacteria, and this could be bad for your mouth. That's because increased lactate in your mouth can lower the pH level of your saliva. This is cause for concern because saliva is key in protecting your teeth from cavity formation. When its pH level is lowered, is less effective in protecting you from acids both in what you eat and drink as well as other bacteria in your mouth. If these studies are shown to be true, then regular use of Chlorhexidine could be harmful, especially for those with existing gingivitis or Periodontal issues.
Talk To Your Dentist First
Generally we recommend anything with an ADA (American Dental Association) seal of approval as safe for all our patients. However, in light of this study, we encourage you to talk with your dentist before choosing this mouthwash for regular use. In light of the recent COVID-19 outbreak, we're still here to answer your questions even if our office isn't currently open. Contact us with this, or any other dental concerns you may have while we practice social distancing and stay at home measures.
It should also be noted that Chlorhexidine is being used in emergency dental procedures by some clinics, and this is due to its ability to potentially kill viral agents like COVID-19. One time use of this mouthwash before a procedure presents far less of a risk than daily use. If you require emergency care, make sure to ask the dentist about Chlorhexidine if they suggest a mouthwash before the procedure.