Medically reviewed on Mar 8, 2017
What is chlorhexidine gluconate?
Chlorhexidine gluconate is a germicidal mouthwash that reduces bacteria in the mouth.
Chlorhexidine gluconate oral rinse is used to treat gingivitis (swelling, redness, bleeding gums). Chlorhexidine gluconate is usually prescribed by a dentist.
Chlorhexidine gluconate oral rinse is not for treating all types of gingivitis. Use the medication only to treat the condition your dentist prescribed it for. Do not share this medication with another person, even if they have the same gum symptoms you have.
Chlorhexidine gluconate may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.
Chlorhexidine gluconate can cause a rare but serious allergic reaction that may be life-threatening. Get emergency medical help if you have: hives, severe skin rash; wheezing, difficult breathing; cold sweats, feeling light-headed; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.
Do not give this medication to a child or teenager without a doctor's advice. chlorhexidine gluconate may cause severe irritation or chemical burns in young children.
Before taking this medicine
You should not use this medication if you are allergic to chlorhexidine gluconate.
If you have periodontal disease, you may need special treatments while you are using chlorhexidine gluconate.
Do not give this medication to a child or teenager without a doctor's advice. This medicine may cause severe irritation or chemical burns in young children. Chlorhexidine gluconate is not approved for use by anyone younger than 18 years old.
It is not known whether this medicine will harm an unborn baby. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant.
It is not known whether chlorhexidine gluconate passes into breast milk or if it could affect the nursing baby. Tell your doctor if you are breast-feeding.
How should I use chlorhexidine gluconate?
Follow all directions on your prescription label. Do not use chlorhexidine gluconate in larger or smaller amounts or for longer than recommended.
Rinse your mouth with chlorhexidine gluconate twice daily after brushing your teeth.
Measure your dose using the cup provided with the medication. Swish the medicine in your mouth for at least 30 seconds, then spit it out. Do not swallow the mouthwash.
Do not add water to the oral rinse. Do not rinse your mouth with water or other mouthwashes right after using chlorhexidine gluconate.
Chlorhexidine gluconate may leave an unpleasant taste in your mouth. Do not rinse your mouth to remove this taste after using the medication. You may rinse the medicine away and reduce its effectiveness.
Use this medication for the full prescribed length of time. Your symptoms may improve before your gingivitis is completely cleared. Chlorhexidine gluconate will not treat a viral or fungal infection such as cold sores, canker sores, or oral thrush (yeast infection).
Visit your dentist at least every 6 months for preventive tooth and gum care.
Store chlorhexidine gluconate at room temperature away from moisture and heat.
What happens if I miss a dose?
Use the missed dose as soon as you remember, but brush your teeth first. Skip the missed dose if it is almost time for your next scheduled dose. Do not use extra medicine to make up the missed dose.
What happens if I overdose?
Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222, especially if a child has swallowed 4 or more ounces of chlorhexidine gluconate.
An overdose of chlorhexidine would occur only if the medicine were swallowed. Overdose symptoms may include nausea, stomach pain, or the appearance of being drunk.
What should I avoid while taking chlorhexidine gluconate?
Chlorhexidine gluconate can stain teeth, dentures, tooth restorations, your tongue, or the inside of your mouth. Talk with your dentist about ways to remove staining from these surfaces. Stains may be harder to remove from false teeth that have scratches in their surfaces.
Avoid eating, drinking, or brushing your teeth just after using this medication.
Do not use any other mouthwash unless your doctor has told you to.
Chlorhexidine gluconate side effects
Chlorhexidine gluconate can cause a rare but serious allergic reaction that may be life-threatening. Get emergency medical help if you have any of these signs of an allergic reaction: hives, severe skin rash; wheezing, difficult breathing; cold sweats, feeling light-headed; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.
Call your doctor at once if you have:
white patches or sores inside your mouth or on your lips;
mouth ulcers; or
swelling of your salivary glands (underneath your jaws).
Common side effects may include:
unusual or unpleasant taste in your mouth; or
decreased taste sensation.
This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
What other drugs will affect chlorhexidine gluconate?
It is not likely that other drugs you take orally or inject will have an effect on chlorhexidine gluconate oral rinse. But many drugs can interact with each other. Tell each of your health care providers about all medicines you use, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products.
- Your pharmacist or dentist can provide more information about chlorhexidine gluconate oral rinse.
Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.
Copyright 1996-2018 Cerner Multum, Inc. Version: 5.01.
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