If you're being treated for gum disease or having certain dental procedures performed, your dental professional may prescribe a prescription rinse with antibacterial properties called a chlorhexidine mouthwash. It is a medication that is used as an oral rinse along with tooth brushing and flossing to treat gingivitis. As a strong antimicrobial drug, chlorhexidine gluconate mouthwash decreases the number of bacteria in your mouth, thus reducing problems with gums, such as swelling, bleeding, and redness.
How to use Chlorhexidine Gluconate Oral Rinse?
When it comes to the usage of chlorhexidine mouthwash, it is usually recommended to rinse your mouth with it twice a day after brushing teeth, or as directed by your healthcare provider. Avoid mixing it with any water or other substances. Rinse for about 30 seconds, making sure not to swallow any of the mouthwash. It is also extremely important to wait for at least 30 minutes after using chlorhexidine mouthwash before eating, drinking, or rinsing your mouth with water.
Chlorhexidine has powerful antibacterial properties and can be especially helpful in maintaining a healthy mouth after a teeth deep cleaning procedure such as tooth scaling and root planing.
This rinse also helps to control and kill the bacteria in your mouth that cause gum disease. The results are visible after only several weeks of use. Chlorhexidine is also known as a medicine that helps to ease some symptoms of mouth infections - good examples are sore throat or mouth ulcers.
Mouthwashes containing chlorhexidine are effective in cases of mild gum disease and moderately reduce gum bleeding. However, it is important to only use them for the period of time that is directed by your healthcare provider, this is usually no more than just a couple weeks.
A mouthwash containing chlorhexidine can cause brown stains on teeth because chlorhexidine has been shown to bind to both hard and soft tissues. So if your dental professional prescribes a chlorhexidine mouthwash for a short time while you're recovering from gum disease treatment, try not to drink too much coffee, tea, red wine, or consume any foods that may be likely to stain your teeth. Also, chlorhexidine mouthwashes may not be the best choice if you have tooth crowns or caps made of composite or glass ionomer, as these materials may stain.
Other possible side effects of Chlorhexidine-based mouthwashes are:
- Discoloration of teeth
- Taste impairment
- Throat irritation
- Very rarely, chlorhexidine oral rinse use can cause inflammation of the salivary glands, dry mouth, or reduced sensation in the mouth. If any of these side effects happen to you, inform your dental porfessional as soon as possible.
How to Prevent Side Effects of Chlorhexidine in Mouthwash
The vast majority of people using chlorhexidine-based mouthwashes do not experience any serious side effects, but to reduce the possibility of them occurring, you can take some measures. If there are any stains on your teeth, you should brush your teeth 3 times a day with toothpaste (preferably a tartar control one), focusing especially on all the stained areas. Additionally, consider visiting your dentist for tartar removal and the removal of any stains that may appear on any dental work in your mouth (crowns, veneers).
In general, this type of mouthwash is not the best antibacterial mouthwash for a long-term part of your oral care routine, and even a prescription antibacterial mouth rinse does not replace toothbrushing and flossing. Once your gum disease is under control, follow a regular oral care routine that includes twice-daily tooth brushing, daily flossing, regular visits to your dental professional. To further promote healthy gums and prevent gum disease consider adding a gum care rinse, like Crest Pro-Health Gum and Breath Purify Mouthwash to your daily oral hygiene routine.The alcohol-free formula seeks out bacteria and protects against gingivitis at the gum line for a healthy smile.
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