In-vitro evidence for efficacy of antimicrobial mouthrinses

J Dent. 2010 Jun;38 Suppl 1(Suppl 1):S16-20. doi: 10.1016/S0300-5712(10)70006-3.


Objective: The objective of this study was to compare the antimicrobial activity of commercially available antiseptic mouthrinses against saliva-derived plaque biofilms in static and flow-through biofilm systems in vitro.

Methods: Nine mouthrinses were tested in a recirculating flow-through biofilm model (RFTB) with viability assessment by ATP bioluminescence. In addition, five mouthrinses were evaluated in a batch chamber slide biofilm (BCSB) model, using live/dead staining and confocal laser scanning microscopy.

Results: In the RFTB model, essential oil (EO) and chlorhexidine (CHX)-containing rinses showed equivalent antimicrobial activity and were more effective than a range of cetyl pyridinium chloride (CPC1) formulations. In the BCSB model, twice-daily mouthrinse exposure demonstrated that the EO rinse was significantly more effective than rinses containing amine and stannous fluorides (AFSF), a combination of CPC/CHX, and another CPC formulation (CPC2). EO showed biofilm kill comparable to the CHX rinse.

Conclusions: The present studies have shown that mouthrinses vary significantly in their capability to kill plaque biofilm bacteria in BCSB and RFTB models. The EO mouthrinse demonstrated superior antiplaque biofilm activity to AFSF, CPC/CHX, and CPC rinses and comparable activity to CHX. The methods tested may be of value for the in-vitro screening of antiseptic rinses with different modes of antimicrobial action.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anti-Infective Agents / classification
  • Anti-Infective Agents / pharmacology*
  • Bacteria / classification
  • Bacteria / drug effects
  • Biofilms / drug effects*
  • Cell Culture Techniques
  • Cetylpyridinium / pharmacology
  • Chlorhexidine / pharmacology
  • Dental Plaque / drug therapy*
  • Dental Plaque / microbiology
  • Fluorides, Topical / pharmacology
  • Humans
  • Mouthwashes / classification
  • Mouthwashes / pharmacology*
  • Oils, Volatile / pharmacology


  • Anti-Infective Agents
  • Fluorides, Topical
  • Mouthwashes
  • Oils, Volatile
  • amine fluoride solution
  • Cetylpyridinium
  • Chlorhexidine