CHLORHEXIDINE (klor HEX i deen) treats a bacterial gum disease (gingivitis). It works by killing or preventing the growth of bacteria, which helps to reduce inflammation of your gums.
What should I tell my care team before I take this medication?
They need to know if you have any of the following conditions:
Front tooth fillings, dentures or other mouth appliances, especially those having rough surfaces
Other gum or dental problems
An unusual or allergic reaction to chlorhexidine, other medications, foods, dyes, or preservatives
Pregnant or trying to get pregnant
How should I use this medication?
This medication should be used immediately after brushing and flossing. Rinse all toothpaste completely from your mouth. Follow the directions on the prescription label. The cap on the original container may be used to measure the dose. If you do not have the cap, ask your pharmacist for a device to measure the dose. Swish the medication in your mouth for 30 seconds. Do not swallow it. Use the medication full strength. Do not mix with water before using. Do not eat or drink for several hours after using the rinse. This may decrease the effect of the medication.
Talk to your care team about the use of this medication in children. Special care may be needed.
What if I miss a dose?
If you miss a dose, use it as soon as possible. If it is almost time for your next dose, use only that dose. Do not use double or extra doses.
What may interact with this medication?
Interactions are not expected.
What side effects may I notice from receiving this medication?
Side effects that you should report to your care team as soon as possible:
Allergic reactions—skin rash, itching, hives, swelling of the face, lips, tongue, or throat
Pain, irritation, or ulcers in the mouth at application site
Side effects that usually do not require medical attention (report to your care team if they continue or are bothersome):
Change in taste
Change in tooth color
What should I watch for while using this medication?
Visit your dentist every 6 months for dental cleanings and to check on your progress.
This medication may have a bitter aftertaste. Do not rinse your mouth after using this medication because that will increase the bitter taste. Rinsing will also decrease the effect of the medication.
This medication may change the way food tastes to you. This effect may last up to 4 hours after using the rinse. Usually this effect becomes less noticeable as you continue using the rinse. Your taste should return to normal after stopping the use of this medication.
This medication may increase tartar build-up and stain your teeth, dentures or fillings. Brush with a tartar control toothpaste and floss daily to help decrease the amount of tartar build-up and staining.
If a child accidentally drinks this medication, get medical attention right away. Small children may have nausea and vomiting and signs of drunkenness.
Where should I keep my medication?
Keep the medication out of reach from children.
Store above 0 degrees C (32 degrees F). Do not freeze. Throw away any unused medication after the expiration date.
K Health articles are all written and reviewed by MDs, PhDs, NPs, or PharmDs and are for informational purposes only. This information does not constitute and should not be relied on for professional medical advice. Always talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of any treatment.
This information is educational only and should not be construed as specific instructions for individual patients nor as a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Talk to your health care provider or pharmacist about the information and instructions. K Health assumes no liability for any use or reliance on this information.