A Tale of Two Antiseptics

When dentists prescribe mouthwash for gum disease, two active ingredients often come to mind: chlorhexidine and hexetidine. While the efficacy of mouthwash, in general, in fighting periodontitis is still the subject of scientific debate, the National Health Service has pointed out these antiseptics for this specific purpose.

Antiseptic mouthwashes containing chlorhexidine usually come in the form of chlorhexidine gluconate (CHG). Chlorhexidine, in itself, is often used by doctors as a powerful sanitizer for their hands prior to an operation or as an effective disinfectant for the area for surgery or injection. The addition of gluconic acid helps impart a sweet taste and slight hint of acidity.

Hexetidine is another effective antiseptic, most notably in popular mouthwash brands such as Bactidol. Considered as a local anaesthetic, hexetidine is the antiseptic of choice for people with mouth ulcers and sore throats. Dentists also use this antiseptic for cleaning the mouth prior to any major dental operation.

Both antiseptics aren’t comparable; they work differently, ensuring good periodontal and dental health. If you’re using chlorhexidine mouthwashes, however, make it a habit not to use it too frequently since the agent stains the teeth. In addition, make sure to rinse after brushing before using the mouthwash as some chemicals in toothpaste may prevent mouthwash from working effectively.

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