Health Guide

Chlorhexidine (Into the mouth)

Chlorhexidine (klor-HEX-i-deen)

Treats gingivitis and periodontitis (teeth and gum disease).

Brand Name(s):


There may be other brand names for this medicine.

When This Medicine Should Not Be Used:

Do not use this medicine if you have had an allergic reaction to chlorhexidine.

How to Use This Medicine:

Chip, Liquid

  • Your dentist will tell you how much of this medicine to use and how often. Do not use more medicine or use it longer or more often than your dentist tells you to.
  • Chip: Your dentist will place the chip between your gums and teeth where the gum has a deep pocket. He will place the chip after your teeth have been thoroughly cleaned. Your dentist will check the depth of the pockets in your gums every 3 months to see if they need to be treated again.
  • Liquid: This medicine should be used after you have brushed and flossed your teeth. Measure out 1/2 fluid ounce (15 milliliters) as marked in the cap that comes with the bottle. Swish the solution in your mouth for at least 30 seconds and then spit it out. Do not swallow it. Do not mix it with water or other fluids. Do not eat or drink right after you use this medicine.

If a dose is missed:

  • Take a dose as soon as you remember. If it is almost time for your next dose, wait until then and take a regular dose. Do not take extra medicine to make up for a missed dose.

How to Store and Dispose of This Medicine:

  • Store the medicine in a closed container at room temperature, away from heat, moisture, and direct light.
  • Ask your pharmacist, doctor, or health caregiver about the best way to dispose of any outdated medicine or medicine no longer needed.
  • Keep all medicine out of the reach of children. Never share your medicine with anyone.

Drugs and Foods to Avoid:

Ask your doctor or pharmacist before using any other medicine, including over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products.

Warnings While Using This Medicine:

  • Make sure your dentist knows if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, or if you have cancer, diabetes, a weak immune system, or other gum problems (such as abscess or pus).
  • This medicine may discolor your teeth a yellow-brown color. This is normal and can be removed with professional cleaning.
  • Check with your dentist right away if a dental chip becomes loose or falls out. Chlorhexidine implants are small, orange-brown rectangular chips that are rounded at one end.
  • Do not floss around the teeth and gums that have been treated for 10 days after the dental chips have been inserted. Flossing may push out the dental chips.
  • Mild sensitivity is normal for about 1 week after the chip was inserted. Check with your dentist right away if you feel pain or swelling where the chip was inserted.

Possible Side Effects While Using This Medicine:

If you notice these less serious side effects, talk with your doctor:

  • Allergic reaction: Itching or hives, swelling in your face or hands, swelling or tingling in your mouth or throat, chest tightness, trouble breathing
  • Bad taste in your mouth or altered sense of taste
  • Stained teeth, tooth fillings, and dentures
  • Toothache

If you notice other side effects that you think are caused by this medicine, tell your doctor

Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088

Last Updated: 6/18/2019
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