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A Journal on Dentistry and Maxillofacial Surgery

Official Journal of the Italian Society of Odontostomatology and Maxillofacial Surgery
Indexed/Abstracted in: CAB, EMBASE, Index to Dental Literature, PubMed/MEDLINE, Scopus, Emerging Sources Citation Index




Minerva Stomatologica 2012 September;61(9):399-419


language: English, Italian

Chlorhexidine (CHX) in dentistry: state of the art

Varoni E. 1, 2, Tarce M. 2, Lodi G. 2, 3, Carrassi A. 2, 3

1 Department of Mining and,Material Engineering, Mc Gill University of Montreal, Montreal, Canada; 2 Unit of Odontostomatology II, San Paolo Hospital, Milan, Italy; 3 Department of Biomedical, Surgery and Dentistry Sciences, University of Milan, Milan, Italy


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.

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