In vitro virucidal effectiveness of a 0.12%-chlorhexidine gluconate mouthrinse

J Dent Res. 1990 Mar;69(3):874-6. doi: 10.1177/00220345900690030901.


The purpose of this work was to assess the in vitro antiviral effectiveness of a mouthrinse (Peridex) containing 0.12% chlorhexidine gluconate (CH) on several viruses that are associated with the oral cavity. These included herpes simplex virus (HSV), cytomegalovirus (CMV), influenza A, parainfluenza, polio, and hepatitis B (HBV). Virucidal assays in tissue cultures were performed on all viruses except HBV. The virucidal effect on HBV was assessed by inactivation of the DNA polymerase contained within the Dane particle of HBV. The CH mouthrinse had virucidal activity against all of the viruses, except polio, in as little as 30 s. The virucidal activity increased with time. However, there were differences in the responses of these viruses to the challenge of the CH mouthrinse, probably due to subtle differences in the physical/chemical structures of the virus envelopes. Results on DNA polymerase of the HBV virus were similar to those on the other viruses, except polio, suggesting a common mechanism. With respect to this mechanism, it was proposed that CH exerted its antiviral effect on the envelopes of these viruses, and that the absence of an envelope on polio precluded effectiveness against this virus.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Line
  • Chlorhexidine / administration & dosage
  • Chlorhexidine / analogs & derivatives*
  • Chlorhexidine / pharmacology
  • Humans
  • Mouthwashes / administration & dosage
  • Mouthwashes / pharmacology
  • Viral Plaque Assay
  • Viruses / drug effects*
  • Viruses / growth & development


  • Mouthwashes
  • chlorhexidine gluconate
  • Chlorhexidine