Chlorhexidine Gluconate

Reviewed on 8/4/2022

What Is Chlorhexidine Gluconate and How Does It Work?

Chlorhexidine Gluconate is a prescription as well as an OTC medication used as a mouthwash to treat gingivitis.

What Are Side Effects Associated with Using Chlorhexidine Gluconate?

Common side effects of Chlorhexidine Gluconate include:

  • mouth irritation;
  • tooth staining;
  • dry mouth;
  • unusual or unpleasant taste in the mouth; or
  • decreased taste sensation.

Serious side effects of Chlorhexidine Gluconate include:

  • hives, 
  • severe skin rash,
  • wheezing,
  • difficult breathing,
  • cold sweats, 
  • feeling light-headed,
  • swelling of the face, lips, tongue, or throat.
  • white patches or sores inside the mouth or on the lips;
  • mouth ulcers; or
  • swelling of the salivary glands (underneath the jaws).

Rare side effects of Chlorhexidine Gluconate include:

  • none

Seek medical care or call 911 at once if you have the following serious side effects:

  • Severe headache, confusion, slurred speech, arm or leg weakness, trouble walking, loss of coordination, feeling unsteady, very stiff muscles, high fever, profuse sweating, or tremors;
  • Serious eye symptoms such as sudden vision loss, blurred vision, tunnel vision, eye pain or swelling, or seeing halos around lights;
  • Serious heart symptoms include fast, irregular, or pounding heartbeats; fluttering in the chest; shortness of breath; sudden dizziness, lightheartedness, or passing out.

This is not a complete list of side effects and other serious side effects or health problems that may occur because of the use of this drug. Call your doctor for medical advice about serious side effects or adverse reactions. You may report side effects or health problems to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.


Mouth Problems: TMJ, Canker Sores, Painful Gums and More See Slideshow

What Are Dosages of Chlorhexidine Gluconate?

Adult dosage

Oral solution

  • 0.12%


  • 2.5 mg


Adult dosage

  • Peridex, PerioGard: oral rinse 15 mL every 12 hours

Adjunct to Scaling & Root Planing

Adult dosage

  • PerioChip: 1-8 chips in the periodontal pocket, depth above 5 mm; repeat every 3 months.

Dosage Considerations – Should be Given as Follows: 

  • See “Dosages”

What Other Drugs Interact with Chlorhexidine Gluconate?

If your medical doctor is using this medicine to treat your pain, your doctor or pharmacist may already be aware of any possible drug interactions and may be monitoring you for them. Do not start, stop, or change the dosage of any medicine before checking with your doctor, health care provider, or pharmacist first.

This information does not contain all possible interactions or adverse effects. Visit the RxList Drug Interaction Checker for any drug interactions. Therefore, before using this product, tell your doctor or pharmacist about all your products. Keep a list of all your medications with you and share this information with your doctor and pharmacist. Check with your health care professional or doctor for additional medical advice, or if you have health questions or concerns.

What Are Warnings and Precautions for Chlorhexidine Gluconate?


  • allergic to chlorhexidine Gluconate

Effects of drug abuse

  • None

Short-Term Effects

  • See “What Are Side Effects Associated with Using Chlorhexidine Gluconate?”

Long-Term Effects

  • See “What Are Side Effects Associated with Using Chlorhexidine Gluconate?”


  • If you have periodontal disease, you may need special treatments while you are using chlorhexidine Gluconate.
  • Chlorhexidine Gluconate can cause a rare but serious allergic reaction that may be life-threatening. Get emergency medical help if you have: hives, severe skin rash; wheezing, difficult breathing; cold sweats, feeling light-headed; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.
  • Do not give this medication to a child or teenager without a doctor's advice. This medicine may cause severe irritation or chemical burns in young children. Chlorhexidine Gluconate is not approved for use by anyone younger than 18 years old.
  • Chlorhexidine Gluconate can stain teeth, dentures, tooth restorations, your tongue, or the inside of your mouth. Talk with your dentist about ways to remove staining from these surfaces. Stains may be harder to remove from false teeth that have scratches on their surfaces.
  • Avoid eating, drinking, or brushing your teeth just after using this medication.
  • Do not use any other mouthwash unless your doctor has told you to.

Pregnancy & Lactation

  • It is not known whether this medicine will harm an unborn baby. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant.
  • Lactation
    • It is not known whether chlorhexidine Gluconate passes into breast milk or if it could affect the nursing baby. Tell your doctor if you are breastfeeding.


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