Efficacy of chlorhexidine digluconate-containing formulations and other mouthrinses against periodontopathogenic microorganisms

Quintessence Int. 2011 Sep;42(8):687-700.


Objective: To determine in vitro the action of chlorhexidine digluconate and different commercially available mouthrinses on oral microorganisms.

Method and materials: Minimal inhibitory concentrations and possible induction of resistance by chlorhexidine digluconate, an essential oil-containing mouthwash and an amine fluoride/stannous fluoride solution, were determined against microorganisms normally found in the oral cavity (10 streptococci, 2 enterobacteria, 1 Candida albicans, 8 Porphyromonas gingivalis, 6 Aggregatibacter actinomycetemcomitans, and 1 Fusobacterium nucleatum). Further, the effect of a 1-minute exposure on cell and bacterial viability was studied.

Results: The susceptibility of the oral microorganisms to chlorhexidine digluconate ranged from 0.01% to 0.50%. Passages on agar plates containing subinhibitory concentrations of chlorhexidine digluconate resulted in a transitory moderate increase in the tolerance to chlorhexidine digluconate in five of the 24 isolates. After 1 minute of exposure, chlorhexidine digluconate solutions as well as the essential oil and the amine/stannous fluoride-containing solutions showed a high activity against the tested microorganisms. Commercially available chlorhexidine digluconate formulations (ie, those with antidiscoloration systems) were partly less efficient than the corresponding manually prepared chlorhexidine digluconate preparation. The determination of MTT resulted in a strong cytotoxicity of all tested preparations to gingival fibroblasts.

Conclusion: The results indicate that most of the chlorhexidine digluconate formulations as well as essential oil and the amine fluoride/stannous fluoride solutions are active against oral microbes. Long-term use of these agents would not result in emergent antimicrobial resistance.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amines / pharmacology
  • Anti-Infective Agents, Local / pharmacology*
  • Anti-Infective Agents, Local / toxicity
  • Bacteria / drug effects*
  • Biofilms / drug effects
  • Chlorhexidine / analogs & derivatives*
  • Chlorhexidine / pharmacology
  • Chlorhexidine / toxicity
  • Colony Count, Microbial
  • Drug Combinations
  • Drug Resistance, Microbial
  • Fibroblasts / drug effects
  • Humans
  • Microbial Sensitivity Tests
  • Microbial Viability / drug effects
  • Microscopy, Electron, Scanning
  • Mouthwashes / pharmacology*
  • Mouthwashes / toxicity
  • Periodontitis / microbiology
  • Salicylates / pharmacology
  • Terpenes / pharmacology
  • Tin Fluorides / pharmacology


  • Amines
  • Anti-Infective Agents, Local
  • Drug Combinations
  • Mouthwashes
  • Salicylates
  • Terpenes
  • Tin Fluorides
  • Meridol
  • Listerine
  • chlorhexidine gluconate
  • Chlorhexidine