Is Listerine a chlorhexidine mouthwash?

This blog post will address the question, “Is Listerine a chlorhexidine mouthwash?” and cover topics like what is chlorhexidine mouthwash, which mouthwash is better-Listerine or Chlorhexidine, uses of chlorhexidine mouthwash, how to use chlorhexidine mouthwash, side effects of using chlorhexidine mouthwash, is chlorhexidine safe for mouth and for how long should you use chlorhexidine mouthwash.

Is Listerine a chlorhexidine mouthwash?

No, Listerine is not a chlorhexidine mouthwash. 

It is a phenolic mouthwash containing methyl salicylate, eucalyptol, thymol, and menthol as its active ingredients. 

What Is Chlorhexidine Mouthwash?

Chlorhexidine mouthwash is a therapeutic mouthwash often prescribed by dentists to kill and control oral bacteria and thus prevent oral infections.

Chlorhexidine is an antiseptic and thus useful in the treatment of mouth ulcers, sore throats, oral infections, and gum diseases.

It is also beneficial in denture care and care of teeth after braces.

Which Is Better, Listerine Or Chlorhexidine?

In a clinical trial, it was found that chlorhexidine was better than Listerine in maintaining lower plaque levels and better gingival health over a 3-week use without any brushing and flossing.

In a comparative study published in the journal of international oral health, it was concluded that chlorhexidine mouthwash was better than Listerine in reducing plaque growth.

Uses Of Chlorhexidine Mouthwash

Chlorhexidine mouthwash is an antiseptic as well as a disinfectant and therefore has a broad use in:

  • Treatment of gum diseases such as gingivitis and bleeding gums
  • Oral ulcers
  • Sore Throats
  • Reducing oral bacteria and plaque formation

How To Use Chlorhexidine Mouthwash?

Chlorhexidine mouthwash must be used as prescribed by your dentist or as suggested by dental hygienists.

However, the usual dose of chlorhexidine mouthwash is 10ml, twice a day.

Steps to use chlorhexidine mouthwash:

  • In a measuring cup, pour 10ml of chlorhexidine mouthwash and rinse your mouth for 1 minute
  • After 1 minute, spit out the mouthwash
  • Make sure not to swallow the mouthwash
  • Do not eat or drink or brush or rinse your mouth with water after 30 minutes to 60 minutes of mouthwash rinse

Are There Any Side Effects Of Using Chlorhexidine Mouthwash?

Yes, chlorhexidine mouthwash may have certain side effects in some people using them. The common side effects of using chlorhexidine mouthwash are:

  • Staining of teeth
  • Change in taste
  • Dry mouth
  • Tingling and burning sensation in mouth and throat
  • Change in colour of the tongue

If these symptoms do not go away or you observe them worsening, consult your dentist immediately.

Is chlorhexidine safe for mouth?

Chlorhexidine has been found to cause certain side effects like teeth staining, altered taste, and change in colour of tongue and restorations.

In a recent study, chlorhexidine mouthwash after 7-days of use, lead to increased acidic environment in the oral cavity favouring dental caries formation.

The same study concluded that 7-days of chlorhexidine mouthwash use, lead to a reduction in the number of oral nitrate-reducing bacteria (bacteria that reduce oral nitrate and prevent heart diseases and maintain blood pressure), thus compromising heart health.

It is therefore advised to use chlorhexidine only as per your doctor’s or dentist’s prescription.

How long should I use chlorhexidine mouthwash?

You should use chlorhexidine mouthwash as per your dentist’s recommendation. 

However, a recent study concluded that the effect of chlorhexidine mouthwash was similar for both short term (4-6 weeks) and long term (6 months) use.

As far as the frequency of using chlorhexidine mouthwash is concerned, there is no strong evidence available. It is therefore suggested to follow your dentist’s advice in this regard.

However, using chlorhexidine mouthwash twice a day is considered good for reducing gum problems.


This blog post addressed the question, “Is Listerine a chlorhexidine mouthwash?”. We understood what chlorhexidine mouthwash is, which mouthwash is better-Listerine or Chlorhexidine, uses of chlorhexidine mouthwash, how to use chlorhexidine mouthwash, side effects of using chlorhexidine mouthwash, if chlorhexidine is safe for the mouth, and for how long should you use chlorhexidine mouthwash.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQs): Is Listerine A Chlorhexidine Mouthwash

Does Listerine Kill The COVID-19 Virus?

No, listerine is not known to kill COVID-19 virus. The available in-vitro studies have found listerine to be effective in reducing the sore throat symptoms of COVID-19 but the data is insufficient.

Can Listerine Be Used As A Hand Sanitizer?

No, listerine cannot and should not be used as a hand sanitizer. It is only to be used as an antiseptic mouthwash to maintain good oral hygiene and prevent plaque, cavities, gingivitis and bad breath.

Can Chlorhexidine Mouthwash Stain Teeth?

Yes, excessive use of chlorhexidine mouthwash has been known to stain teeth. 

According to a review published in the International Journal Of Dental Hygiene, chlorhexidine mouthwash resulted in more significant tooth discoloration compared to chlorhexidine gel.

Chlorhexidine gluconate reacts with leftover food additives most commonly tannins found in tea and coffee.

Chlorhexidine reacts with tannins to produce brown stains on the tooth surface that can be removed using abrasive toothpaste or dental scaling and polishing done by a professional.

Can I use salt water instead of chlorhexidine?

Yes, you can use salt water instead of chlorhexidine for routine use.

A study found saltwater to be as effective as chlorhexidine mouthwash in reducing plaque.

However, the same study found saltwater to be less effective in reducing dental caries causing bacteria.

The study concluded that saltwater can be used along with brushing and flossing in regular routine use.

Can Listerine Cause A Sore Throat?

No! Listerine cannot cause a sore throat. 

Listerine is a mouthwash and may cause a burning sensation in the mouth or throat due to its alcohol and menthol content. 

The burning sensation in the throat due to listerine is often mistaken to be a sore throat. 

However, it is only a temporary effect mainly due to alcohol present in the listerine mouthwash.

Can Chlorhexidine mouthwash cause a sore throat?

A 2017 published review paper reports chlorhexidine mouthwash to be a broad-spectrum antimicrobial and thus to be effective against a wide variety of infections including sore throat.

According to an article published in the International Journal of Oral-Medical Sciences, mouthwash was found to significantly reduce the incidences of oral dryness, halitosis, and sore throat.

However, a research study published in the journal of advanced medical and dental sciences research, reports incidences of sore throat and or sore mouth in uncontrolled diabetic patients using 0.12% of chlorhexidine gluconate mouthwash.

Is Gargling Listerine Good For Tonsillitis?

Yes, if the tonsillitis (inflammation of the tonsils) is due to a bacterial infection then gargling listerine, an antiseptic mouthwash, may be good.

However, tonsillitis due to a viral infection, which is usually the case, may not get better on gargling with listerine.

Other FAQs about Mouthwash that you may be interested in.

What is a Chlorhexidine Mouthwash?

How To Use Chlorhexidine Mouthwash With Water?

Why Does Listerine Burn My Tongue?


Listerine – ScienceDirect

Chlorhexidine, (2021)

The Advantages and Disadvantages of Chlorhexidine Mouthwash. (2018)

Effects of Chlorhexidine mouthwash on the oral microbiome. (2020)

Chlorhexidine mouthrinse as an adjunctive treatment for gingival health. (2017)

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