Chlorhexidine (CHX) in dentistry: state of the art

Minerva Stomatol. 2012 Sep;61(9):399-419.
[Article in English, Italian]


Chlorhexidine (CHX) is one of the most commonly prescribed antiseptic agents in the dental field. It has a long-lasting antibacterial activity with a broad-spectrum of action and it has been shown to reduce plaque, gingival inflammation and bleeding. Its use is considered a powerful adjuvant to mechanical oral hygiene (brushing and flossing), especially in those cases in which it cannot be performed correctly. Available as mouthwash, gel, aerosol, spray and disks, CHX is considered a safe compound, with minimal and transitory local and systemic side effects. Data support its periodic use as an adjuvant to normal brushing and flossing in subjects unable to maintain proper oral hygiene due to physical and/or mental impairment, or lack of motivation, or decreased salivary rate. CHX is also a useful alternative to mechanical oral hygiene procedures in those cases in which they are contraindicated, e.g. after a surgical procedure, or as a preoperative rinse before procedures in which use of a dental dam is not possible. The aim of this article is to offer a complete review of literature regarding the characteristics, the applications and the problems associated with the use of chlorhexidine in the dental field.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Infective Agents, Local / therapeutic use*
  • Chlorhexidine / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Oral Hygiene*


  • Anti-Infective Agents, Local
  • Chlorhexidine