Chlorhexidine Gluconate Oral Rinse

This medication is used along with regular tooth brushing/flossing to treat gingivitis, a gum disease that causes red, swollen, and easily bleeding gums. Chlorhexidine belongs to a class of drugs known as antimicrobials. It works by decreasing the amount of bacteria in the mouth, helping to reduce swelling and redness of the gums and bleeding when you brush.

Chlorhexidine gluconate (oral rinse)

Generic name: chlorhexidine gluconate (oral rinse) [ klor-HEX-i-deen ]
Brand names: Paroex, Peridex, PerioChip, Periogard
Dosage forms: mucous membrane insert (2.5 mg); mucous membrane liquid (0.12%)
Drug classes: Antiseptic and germicides, Mouth and throat products

Medically reviewed by Drugs.com on Feb 28, 2022. Written by Cerner Multum.

What is chlorhexidine gluconate?

Chlorhexidine gluconate is a germicidal mouthwash that reduces bacteria in the mouth.

Chlorhexidine gluconate oral rinse is used to treat gingivitis (swelling, redness, bleeding gums). Chlorhexidine gluconate is usually prescribed by a dentist.

Chlorhexidine gluconate oral rinse is not for treating all types of gingivitis. Use the medication only to treat the condition your dentist prescribed it for. Do not share this medication with another person, even if they have the same gum symptoms you have.

Chlorhexidine gluconate may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.

Warnings

Chlorhexidine gluconate can cause a rare but serious allergic reaction that may be life-threatening. Get emergency medical help if you have: hives, severe skin rash; wheezing, difficult breathing; cold sweats, feeling light-headed; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Do not give this medication to a child or teenager without a doctor’s advice. chlorhexidine gluconate may cause severe irritation or chemical burns in young children.

Before taking this medicine

You should not use this medication if you are allergic to chlorhexidine gluconate.

If you have periodontal disease, you may need special treatments while you are using chlorhexidine gluconate.

Do not give this medication to a child or teenager without a doctor’s advice. This medicine may cause severe irritation or chemical burns in young children. Chlorhexidine gluconate is not approved for use by anyone younger than 18 years old.

It is not known whether this medicine will harm an unborn baby. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant.

It is not known whether chlorhexidine gluconate passes into breast milk or if it could affect the nursing baby. Tell your doctor if you are breast-feeding.

How should I use chlorhexidine gluconate?

Follow all directions on your prescription label. Do not use chlorhexidine gluconate in larger or smaller amounts or for longer than recommended.

Rinse your mouth with chlorhexidine gluconate twice daily after brushing your teeth.

Measure your dose using the cup provided with the medication. Swish the medicine in your mouth for at least 30 seconds, then spit it out. Do not swallow the mouthwash.

Do not add water to the oral rinse. Do not rinse your mouth with water or other mouthwashes right after using chlorhexidine gluconate.

Chlorhexidine gluconate may leave an unpleasant taste in your mouth. Do not rinse your mouth to remove this taste after using the medication. You may rinse the medicine away and reduce its effectiveness.

Use this medication for the full prescribed length of time. Your symptoms may improve before your gingivitis is completely cleared. Chlorhexidine gluconate will not treat a viral or fungal infection such as cold sores, canker sores, or oral thrush (yeast infection).

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Visit your dentist at least every 6 months for preventive tooth and gum care.

Store chlorhexidine gluconate at room temperature away from moisture and heat.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Use the missed dose as soon as you remember, but brush your teeth first. Skip the missed dose if it is almost time for your next scheduled dose. Do not use extra medicine to make up the missed dose.

What happens if I overdose?

Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222, especially if a child has swallowed 4 or more ounces of chlorhexidine gluconate.

An overdose of chlorhexidine would occur only if the medicine were swallowed. Overdose symptoms may include nausea, stomach pain, or the appearance of being drunk.

What should I avoid while taking chlorhexidine gluconate?

Chlorhexidine gluconate can stain teeth, dentures, tooth restorations, your tongue, or the inside of your mouth. Talk with your dentist about ways to remove staining from these surfaces. Stains may be harder to remove from false teeth that have scratches in their surfaces.

Avoid eating, drinking, or brushing your teeth just after using this medication.

Do not use any other mouthwash unless your doctor has told you to.

Chlorhexidine gluconate side effects

Chlorhexidine gluconate can cause a rare but serious allergic reaction that may be life-threatening. Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction: hives, severe skin rash; wheezing, difficult breathing; cold sweats, feeling light-headed; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Chlorhexidine gluconate may cause serious side effects. Call your doctor at once if you have:

  • white patches or sores inside your mouth or on your lips;
  • mouth ulcers; or
  • swelling of your salivary glands (underneath your jaws).

Common side effects of chlorhexidine gluconate may include:

  • mouth irritation;
  • tooth staining;
  • dry mouth;
  • unusual or unpleasant taste in your mouth; or
  • decreased taste sensation.

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

What other drugs will affect chlorhexidine gluconate?

It is not likely that other drugs you take orally or inject will have an effect on chlorhexidine gluconate oral rinse. But many drugs can interact with each other. Tell each of your health care providers about all medicines you use, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products.

Where can I get more information?

  • Your pharmacist or dentist can provide more information about chlorhexidine gluconate oral rinse.

Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.

More about chlorhexidine topical

  • Check interactions
  • Compare alternatives
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  • Reviews (60)
  • Latest FDA alerts (3)
  • Side effects
  • Dosage information
  • During pregnancy
  • Drug class: antiseptic and germicides
  • Breastfeeding

Patient resources

  • Drug Information
  • Chlorhexidine (Advanced Reading)
  • Chlorhexidine Periodontal (Advanced Reading)
  • Chlorhexidine Topical application (Advanced Reading)
  • Chlorhexidine Gluconate (Oral)
  • Chlorhexidine Gluconate (Topical)

Other brands

Professional resources

Related treatment guides

  • Skin Disinfection, Preoperative
  • Periodontitis
  • Gingivitis
  • Mucositis

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.

Copyright 1996-2023 Cerner Multum, Inc. Version: 5.01.

Chlorhexidine Gluconate Mouthwash – Uses, Side Effects, and More

This medication is used along with regular tooth brushing/flossing to treat gingivitis, a gum disease that causes red, swollen, and easily bleeding gums. Chlorhexidine belongs to a class of drugs known as antimicrobials. It works by decreasing the amount of bacteria in the mouth, helping to reduce swelling and redness of the gums and bleeding when you brush.

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How to use Chlorhexidine Gluconate Mouthwash

Rinse your mouth with the solution after brushing your teeth, usually twice daily (after breakfast and at bedtime) or as directed by your doctor.

Measure 1/2 ounce (15 milliliters) of the solution using the supplied measuring cup. Swish the solution in your mouth for 30 seconds, and then spit it out.

Do not swallow the solution or mix it with any other substance. After using chlorhexidine, wait at least 30 minutes before rinsing your mouth with water or mouthwash, brushing your teeth, eating, or drinking.

Dosage is based on your medical condition and response to treatment.

Use this medication regularly to get the most benefit from it. To help you remember, use it at the same times each day. It may take up to 6 weeks to see the full benefits of using this medication.

Tell your doctor if your condition lasts or gets worse.

Side Effects

Tooth/tongue staining, increased tartar, mouth/throat irritation, dry mouth, and change in taste of food/drinks may occur. If any of these effects last or get worse, tell your doctor or pharmacist promptly.

To decrease staining of teeth and mouth surfaces, brush with toothpaste 3 times daily, brushing more on the stained areas. Use of a “tartar control” toothpaste and electric toothbrush may be more effective. See your dentist at least every 6 months for tooth cleaning/tartar removal. Staining from this medication that may occur on dental work (such as crowns or veneers) usually can only be removed by a dentist/hygienist. To decrease the effect on how food tastes, eat first, followed by tooth brushing and then chlorhexidine rinse.

Remember that this medication has been prescribed because your doctor or dentist has judged that the benefit to you is greater than the risk of side effects. Many people using this medication do not have serious side effects.

A very serious allergic reaction to this drug is rare. However, seek immediate medical attention if you notice any symptoms of a serious allergic reaction, including: mouth or skin rash, itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat), severe dizziness, trouble breathing.

This is not a complete list of possible side effects. If you notice other effects not listed above, contact your doctor or pharmacist.

In the US – Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088 or at www.fda.gov/medwatch.

In Canada – Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to Health Canada at 1-866-234-2345.

Precautions

Before using chlorhexidine, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are allergic to it; or if you have any other allergies. This product may contain inactive ingredients, which can cause allergic reactions or other problems. Talk to your pharmacist for more details.

Before using this medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist your medical history, especially of: dental crowns, veneers, or fillings (especially if on the front teeth and if made of porcelain).

Tell your doctor if you are pregnant before using this medication.

It is not known whether this drug passes into breast milk. Consult your doctor before breast-feeding.

Interactions

The effects of some drugs can change if you take other drugs or herbal products at the same time. This can increase your risk for serious side effects or may cause your medications not to work correctly. These drug interactions are possible, but do not always occur. Your doctor or pharmacist can often prevent or manage interactions by changing how you use your medications or by close monitoring.

To help your doctor or pharmacist give you the best care, be sure to tell your doctor or pharmacist about all the products you use (including prescription drugs, nonprescription drugs, and herbal products) before starting treatment with this product. While using this product, do not start, stop, or change the dosage of any other medicines you are using without your doctor’s approval.

Chlorhexidine rinse is not likely to cause drug interactions, even if accidentally swallowed. However, be careful not to swallow this medication because doing so may increase side effects.

Keep a list of all the products you use. Share the list with your doctor and pharmacist to reduce your risk for serious medication problems.

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Alex Koliada, PhD

Alex Koliada, PhD

Alex Koliada, PhD, is a well-known doctor. He is famous for his studies of ageing, genetics and other medical conditions. He works at the Institute of Food Biotechnology and Genomics NAS of Ukraine. His scientific researches are printed by the most reputable international magazines. Some of his works are: Differences in the gut Firmicutes to Bacteroidetes ratio across age groups in healthy Ukrainian population [BiomedCentral.com]; Mating status affects Drosophila lifespan, metabolism and antioxidant system [Science Direct]; Anise Hyssop Agastache foeniculum Increases Lifespan, Stress Resistance, and Metabolism by Affecting Free Radical Processes in Drosophila [Frontiersin].
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