The aim of this double-blind randomized clinical trial was to assess whether the presence of alcohol in chlorhexidine gluconate mouthwashes influences their antimicrobial potential against salivary bacteria in young adults. Additionally, the taste perception was assessed.

Materials and methods

In a randomized crossover design, 20 participants (17 women and three men; aged 18–38 years old) rinsed with the 0.12% chlorhexidine gluconate with (CHX+) or without alcohol (CHX−) for 1 min. Sterile flavoured-mint physiological saline was used as control solution. All participants rinsed with the assigned products only once with a period of at least 7 days of washout in between. For antimicrobial potential assay, stimulated saliva samples were collected from participants and had their total viable bacteria determined before and after each rinse. For taste perception assay, a visual analogue scale (VAS) was used to evaluate the taste perception after each rinse. Friedman followed by Wilcoxon tests and Bonferroni correction were performed. A P-value <0.017 was considered as statistically significant.


The median per cent reduction in groups CHX+ and CHX− was 16.07 and 12.87, respectively. No statistically significant difference was found between these groups (P = 0.09). Regarding the gustatory perception, the VAS median values in groups CHX+ and CHX− were 3.50 and 5.50. No statistically significant difference was found in this outcome (P = 0.052).


The presence of the alcohol on the formulation of gluconate chlorhexidine mouthwashes does not seem to interfere with their antimicrobial potential and with their taste perception.

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