The chlorhexidine is a cation antiseptic largely used to control the bacterial plaque. Its molecule was developed during the 40´s by the company Imperial Chemical Industries as a topical antiseptic. Later, in the 70´s, Löe and Schiott announced its anti-plaque and anti-gingivitis properties.

Today, the chlorhexidine is the antiseptic of reference by its great efficiency and safety.

The cation condition of the chlorhexidine explains the wide range effectiveness against gram-positive, gram-negative bacteria, virus and fungi. The connection of the chlorhexidine to the cell wall of the microorganism with negative load destabilize its structure and causes its death.

Which is the mode of action of the chlorhexidine?

The positive load of the chlorhexidine molecule also is capable to link itself to other structures, such as the hydroxyapatite of the tooth enamel, the dental plaque and some salivary proteins of negative load.

This fact makes the chlorhexidine to be released progressively in the oral cavity for 8 to 12 hours, acting for a long period of time (substantivity).

Can it cause color in the teeth?

The continued use of the substance and, in contact with certain drinks and foods, such as red wine, coffee and also the use of tobacco, can cause color in the teeth, a fact known as outer color or decolor.

It is believed that this decolor is caused by the precipitation of the substances that contain this kind of food and drink known as chromogen and can vary from white stripes to yellow stain or brown spots.

clorhexidina y café

It is worthen to highlight that this type of stains can be easily removed with a professional preventive technique.

Besides the consumed diet, the concentration of chlorhexidine in the product also affects the level of color. In odontology, 2 concentrations of rinse with chlorhexidine are available: 0.20% and 0.12%. Both concentrations are effective in terms of reduction of the bacterial plaque and the gingival rate, although the area of color and the intensity is significantly higher when using the 0.20% concentration of chlorhexidine.

Through the years, different attempts were made to develop «oral risings with chlorhexidine that do not stain», however, all the oral risings with chlorhexidine that used to include the anti-decoloring system were not efficiency against gingivitis. Therefore, the evidences seem to suggest that the color is an inevitable effect if we really want the antiseptics oral rising to work.

[i] [ii]

Despite the possibility of appearance of this type of stains, which can be minimized by controlling the eating of foods and the duration of the treatment, the chlorhexidine continues to be the antiseptic of choice in dental hygiene, as its prevents complications and, therefore, guarantees the effectiveness of the treatment.


Cation molecule with 2 (+) groups that produce non-specified links to the surfaces (-):

  • Oral surface: SUBSTANTIVITY

The capacity of color of the chlorhexidine is inherent to its chemical structure, which also provides antiseptic and substantive properties.

Suggested literatures on chlorhexidine

[i]   Balagopal S, et al. Chlorhexidine: The Gold standard antiplaque agent. J Pharm Sci & Res. 2013; Volume 5(12): 270-274.

[ii] Guggenheim B et Meier A. In vitro effect of chlorhexidine mouth rinses on polyspecies biofilms. Res & Sci. 2011; 121(3): 432 – 436.

We from KIN Laboratories recommend you to send any question or doubt on this substance in the comments.

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