Study Shows Mouthrinse Reduces Overgrowth of Gum Tissue

By Mary Beth Spina

Release Date: March 14, 1994 This content is archived.


BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Gingival hyperplasia, a side-effect of long-term use of some prescription drugs, can be reduced by using a chlorhexidine mouthrise, University at Buffalo dental researchers have determined.

Gingival hyperplasia -- an overgrowth of gum tissue -- makes it more difficult to remove bacteria by brushing and flossing.

The prescription rinse, used twice a day, significantly reduces hyperplasia, as well as bleeding, inflammation and plaque, Sebastian G. Ciancio, D.D.S., UB professor of periodontics, reported last week at the general meeting of the International Association for Dental Research in Seattle.

Thirty patients ages 18-70 who regularly took one or more of five medications -- cyclosporine, an immunomodifier; phenytoin, an anti-epilepsy drug, and the calcium channel blockers verapamil, cardizem and nifedipine -- were randomly placed in one of two groups.

One group rinsed daily with chlorhexidine (Peridex), the other group with a placebo.

At the end of 12 weeks, the chlorhexidine group experienced a significant increase in dental-enamel staining (.05), which correlated with a reduction of hyperplasia, bleeding, inflammation and plaque.

Staining is a common side-effect of long-term use of chlorhexidine.

The placebo group showed no significant changes, except a slightly elevated bleeding index at week 12. There was no enamel staining.

In addition to Ciancio, other members of the UB research team are Othman Shibley, D.D.S., clinical assistant professor of periodontics; Maryanne L. Mather, clinical research coordinator; Norman Bartz, D.D.S., clinical instructor in endodontics, and UB dental students Thomas Anderson and Romi Farber.