Chlorhexidine is a widely used antiseptic agent in dentistry and medicine. In oral care, chlorhexidine is often prescribed by dentists to prevent and treat various infections affecting the gums and mouth.
Chlorhexidine is an antimicrobial substance, meaning it kills bacteria and viruses. It is considered very safe when used properly. This makes it great for disinfecting oral appliances. For instance, chlorhexidine gluconate is an oral rinse that can be used to disinfect retainers and dentures.
For patients with partial or full dentures, chlorhexidine can be a safe and excellent aid in keeping their dental prosthesis clean and preventing oral infections like thrush.
Chlorhexidine for dentures
Denture wearers tend to be at increased risk for such infections due to appliance biofilm buildup and tissue irritation under the denture surface. Fortunately, chlorhexidine is considered safe and effective for disinfecting appliances like retainers and dentures when used properly. So always follow label directions and your dentist’s guidance on using this antimicrobial rinse.
Here are some things to keep in mind:
- Soaking dentures – You can soak retainers and dentures in a chlorhexidine solution to sanitize them and prevent buildup of microbes. Follow instructions on how long to soak.
- Beware of stains – It may temporarily stain appliances, but this staining can be removed by scrubbing with toothpaste after soaking. The staining is superficial and will come off.
- Treats gum disease by reducing plaque – Chlorhexidine is commonly used to treat gum infections like gingivitis as- it reduces dental plaque. It can also help prevent tooth decay.
- Always follow instructions While chlorhexidine has many uses in dentistry, be sure to follow your dentist’s instructions. Don’t use it longer than recommended.
- Doesn’t require a prescription – You can buy chlorhexidine at pharmacies without a prescription. Brand names include Peridex and Periogard.
Benefits of Using Chlorhexidine
When used properly, chlorhexidine offers many benefits for keeping dentures and oral tissues healthy:
- Prevents biofilm buildup on dentures that causes odor and infections
- Treats existing cases of oral thrush or fungal infections
- Reduces cavity-causing bacteria around denture edges
- Helps heal mouth sores and irritation from ill-fitting dentures
- Controls plaque that impacts gums and dental implants
- Keeps breath fresh by killing odor-producing microbes
Chlorhexidine for Tissue Irritation and Denture Stomatitis
Denture stomatitis, commonly known as chronic erythematous candidiasis, is a chronic inflammation that affects the soft tissues under dentures, primarily found in individuals wearing complete or partial dentures.
This condition is more prevalent among women and tends to affect the palatal mucosa the most. This is the soft, pink tissue on the roof of your mouth, specifically the part that comes into contact with a denture (where it rests when you wear it).
This tissue can sometimes become irritated or inflamed due to poor denture hygiene, ill-fitting dentures, and the presence of fungi like Candida albicans. This irritation can lead to a condition called denture stomatitis or chronic erythematous candidiasis, which causes discomfort and redness in this area.
Chlorhexidine and Candida:
Chlorhexidine, one of the antiseptics in different mouthwash, is known for its ability to combat various microorganisms, including the Candida albicans fungus. It has shown clinical and microbiological success in treating denture stomatitis. However, using chlorhexidine alone can lead to discoloration of the denture material, which poses a challenge for daily use.
Cetylpyridinium Chloride (CPC) Advantage:
Cetylpyridinium chloride is another component of different mouthwash. It’s effective in neutralizing toxins released by microorganisms in the mouth. Unlike chlorhexidine, CPC causes minimal discoloration and staining. This makes it an attractive addition to the treatment.
Best use of chlorhexidine digluconate and cetylpyridinium chloride mouthwash
In a study aimed to assess the effectiveness of a mouthwash containing two antiseptics: chlorhexidine digluconate (CHX) at 0.12% and cetylpyridinium chloride (CPC) at 0.05%, found it to be helpful in reducing and even eliminating the Candida biofilm associated with denture stomatitis.
In the study comparing dentures soaked in a solution containing CHX and CPC versus dentures soaked in distilled water over a period of four nights of immersion, the researchers observed that dentures in the CHX and CPC solution exhibited a significant reduction in Candida albicans colonies.
Some dentures showed a total disappearance of Candida, while others had a decline in colony count. On the other hand, dentures soaked in distilled water showed no improvement.
How to use Chlorhexidine to Clean Dentures
Here are guidelines for effectively using chlorhexidine to clean dentures:
Always follow manufacturer instructions for dilution, rinsing time, application frequency, and safety precautions. Do not ingest chlorhexidine solutions.
After removing dentures, thoroughly brush using chlorhexidine toothpaste or soak/swish dentures in a dilute chlorhexidine solution for 1-2 minutes to disinfect.
For thorough disinfection, soak dentures overnight or up to 8 hours in chlorhexidine solution several times per week. This helps kill stubborn bacteria.
Always rinse dentures thoroughly with water after using chlorhexidine to remove any residue before reinserting them into your mouth.
Follow time limits
Do not use prescription strength chlorhexidine for longer than 2 weeks unless directed by your dentist, as extended use may lead to tooth staining or irritation.
See your dentist
Have your dentist evaluate your dentures and oral tissue at least annually and promptly for any signs of irritation or infection. They can prescribe chlorhexidine if appropriate for your oral health needs.
Chlorhexidine provides an effective way to manage infections, keep dentures clean, and support oral health. However, you should be aware of the risk of resin staining, so make sure to follow usage guidelines carefully. Consult your dentist to see if chlorhexidine could be beneficial for your oral care needs. With professional guidance, this antiseptic can optimize your denture care routine.
FAQs About Using Chlorhexidine
1. How should I use Chlorhexidine?
- Use Chlorhexidine exactly as directed by your doctor or the instructions on the label.
- It comes in various forms like a solution, gel, or spray.
- For mouthwash, rinse for about 1 minute and spit it out. If using on dentures, soak them in the mouthwash solution for 15 minutes.
- For gel, brush teeth with it for about 1 minute and spit out. If using on dentures, brush them with the gel for about 1 minute.
- For spray, apply it to teeth, gums, or sore areas in the mouth.
2. What if I forget to take a dose?
Take the missed dose as soon as you remember. If it’s close to the next dose, skip the missed one and continue your normal schedule.
Don’t take a double dose.
3. When should I avoid using Chlorhexidine?
Don’t use it if you’ve had an allergic reaction to Chlorhexidine before.
4. What precautions should I take while using Chlorhexidine?
- Inform your dentist if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding.
- Let your dentist know if your condition doesn’t improve or worsens.
- Chlorhexidine can cause tooth, tongue, and fabric discoloration.
5. What are the possible side effects?
- If you experience rashes or swelling in the mouth or eyes, stop using Chlorhexidine and contact your doctor.
- Possible side effects include dry mouth, dry tongue, and tooth discoloration.
6. Can I use Chlorhexidine with other medicines?
Always inform your doctor and pharmacist about any other medicines or supplements you’re taking.
7. Are there any dietary restrictions with Chlorhexidine?
8. How should I store Chlorhexidine?
Store it in a cool, dry place away from children.
Don’t use it after the expiry date.
9. What is Chlorhexidine?
Chlorhexidine is an antiseptic used to prevent and treat oral infections.
It’s found in mouthwashes, gels, and toothpastes.
10. When is Chlorhexidine recommended?
- It’s recommended by dentists when infections are detected.
- Situations include periodontal disease, after oral surgery, and for healing oral mucosal lesions.
11. How is Chlorhexidine used?
- It’s prescribed by a dentist.
- For mouthwashes, rinse your mouth 2-3 times a day for 30-60 seconds.
- For gels, apply with a brush on gums after meals.
- For sprays, it’s used on specific areas.
12. What products contain Chlorhexidine?
- Chlorhexidine is in mouthwashes, toothpastes, gels, and sprays.
- Different concentrations are used for various oral health needs.
13. What precautions should I take with Chlorhexidine?
- It might change the taste of food slightly and can stain teeth.
- Don’t use without medical advice.
14. Are there any adverse effects?
- Side effects are reversible.
- Staining can be managed with dental hygiene.