Home Medication and medical testsOther medications Chlorhexidine: what it is, functions and side effects

Chlorhexidine: what it is, functions and side effects

by Alivia Nyhan
Published: Last Updated on

In your regular visits to the dentist, depending on your oral health condition, he may recommend the use of mouthwashes or dental products that contain chlorhexidine, and will also be very specific regarding the time you should use it or how it should be administered. This product is one of the best options for the dentist to help you solve specific problems, but despite its virtues it also has certain side effects that limit its implementation to specific cases. In this FastlyHealarticle we will explain everything you need to know about Chlorhexidine: what it is, functions and side effects , so that you do not use it improperly when your dentist recommends it to solve an oral health problem.

What is Chlorhexidine

Chlorhexidine is an antiseptic substance widely used in the area of ​​dentistry as it prevents the growth of bacteria and fungi . It differs from a disinfectant because while these act on inert tissues, chlorhexidine acts on living tissues.

Chlorhexidine is contained in many oral products such as toothpastes, gels, sprays and especially in mouthwashes and its presentation is of various concentrations, being 0.12% the most used in the area.

It is a product frequently indicated by the dentist for its extensive functions and effects at the oral level, in addition to being an excellent adjuvant to treat diseases such as gingivitis or periodontitis .

Chlorhexidine functions

Chlorhexidine, as we have already commented previously, is an antiseptic substance that stops the growth of bacteria and fungi, which is why it is able to prevent the appearance of diseases in the mouth that depend on the presence of these microorganisms. In addition to this, chlorhexidine has an important effect in terms of reducing bacterial plaque , so the dentist may indicate it for the treatment of gingivitis or periodontitis, which are oral diseases that depend on the presence of plaque.

It is also used to prevent the spread of infections when performing surgical interventions such as dental extractions, placement of dental implants or periodontal surgeries to remove the dental calculus, in addition to helping to heal injuries present in the mouth.

It is also used in those people who suffer from canker sores or sores in the mouth , because it helps to heal them. The best way to use it in this case is as a mouthwash after brushing.

In the case of any other injury or discomfort in another part of the oral mucosa, for example on the tongue , it is advisable to use it in its spray presentation since its action is more localized and improving its effect.

How should it be used?

Chlorhexidine is recommended to be used for at least 30 minutes after toothbrushing because toothpaste has a compound called sodium lauryl sulfate and tests have shown that the two substances are not compatible. Preferably it will be used in a concentration of 0.12% for at least 30 seconds only for 14 days in most cases, since its effect is substantive, that is, its action remains for 12 hours in the mouth.

It can also be used to wash dental prostheses , however it must be taken into account that if there is inflammation in the tissues it may be due to a poorly adapted prosthesis.

Chlorhexidine side effects

Chlorhexidine has more success than failure, however like everything when its use is prolonged it can generate side effects , which may well be mild but are significant in the person:

  • Mainly there are the presence of dark spots in the enamel , similar to those that appear from the consumption of coffee or cigarettes, in addition to being able to stain the tongue. These enamel stains can be eliminated by suspending the use of the antiseptic, in addition to a dental cleaning treatment by the dentist, which is important since aesthetics are affected.
  • It has been shown in some cases patients who report having taste alterations , although this sensation decreases with time and when the use of the product is suspended.
  • Very rarely some people report having an allergic reaction to the product.
  • Recent studies indicate that chlorhexidine increases dental calculus more, which is why it is recommended to use it after a scalectomy (removal of the calculus), and perform this approximately every 6 months.

Some additional precautions regarding its use are the following:

  • The product should not be ingested , it is for topical application
  • You should not rinse your mouth immediately after use, because it will taste more bitter.
  • If signs or symptoms other than those expected appear and they persist, its use should be discontinued.

This article is merely informative, at FastlyHeal .com we do not have the power to prescribe medical treatments or make any type of diagnosis. We invite you to see a doctor in the case of presenting any type of condition or discomfort.

If you want to read more articles similar to Chlorhexidine: what it is, functions and side effects , we recommend that you enter our category of Medication and medical tests .

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