What Is Chlorhexidine Gluconate?


Chlorhexidine gluconate is an antibacterial agent used as an oral rinse, an implant and a skin cleaner. It kills bacteria and inhibits the growth of new bacteria. Chlorhexidine gluconate is used under the guidance of a physician.

Oral Rinse

Chlorhexidine gluconate oral rinse is used to treat gingivitis. Gingivitis is an irritation of the gums that features redness and swelling. Patients usually rinse their mouths with chlorhexidine gluconate for 30 seconds after brushing in the morning and at night. Chlorhexidine gluconate should not be swallowed. A dentist determines the dosage but it is usually 0.5 fluid ounce. Do not eat, drink, brush teeth, rinse with water or use other mouthwashes immediately after rinsing with chlorhexidine gluconate.


Chlorhexidine gluconate is available as an implant to treat periodontal disease, according to Mayo Clinic. Periodontal disease is a serious gum disease which can result in tooth loss and increase the risk of having a heart attack or stroke. The implant is inserted into a deep pocket in the gums by a dentist. Up to eight implants can be inserted at a time and may be kept in for three months. The implants dissolve and do not need to be removed.

Skin Application

Sold under many brand names, chlorhexidine gluconate is used to clean skin after injury and as a surgical preparation, according to Mayo Clinic. It is important that chlorhexidine be used only on the skin, not in the eyes, ears, mouth, nose, genitals or anal area. To use the cleanser, rinse the area with water. Rub chlorhexidine gluconate on the skin and rinse the area again with water.


Chlorhexidine gluconate should not be swallowed. If a child swallows the oral rinse, consult a healthcare provider because he may show signs of alcohol intoxication. The oral rinse may stain teeth and the cleanser may stain clothing.


Serious and permanent injury may result if the chlorhexidine gluconate skin cleanser is used on the eyes, nose or mouth. Do not use it on these areas.

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