Mouthwash helps combat STI
A supermarket brand of mouthwash has been shown to help kill off gonorrhoea in the mouth, researchers have found.
The researchers, including Senior Research Fellow at Alfred Health's Melbourne Sexual Health Centre Eric Chow, found daily rinsing and gargling with the Listerine might be a cheap and easy way of helping to control the spread of the infection.
New cases of gonorrhoea among men are on the rise in many countries amid declining condom use, with the bulk of cases among gay/bisexual men.
As far back as 1879, before antibiotics existed, Listerine manufacturers claimed the mouthwash could be used to cure gonorrhoea, but no published research has tested the claim. In a bid to rectify this, the researchers assessed whether Listerine could curb the growth of N gonorrhoeae in laboratory tests and in sexually active gay/bisexual men in a clinical trial.
In the laboratory tests, different dilutions (up to 1:32) of Listerine Cool Mint and Total Care were applied to cultures of N gonorrhoeae to see which of any of them might curb growth of the bacteria.
In comparison, a salt water (saline) solution was also applied to an identical set of cultures. Results showed Listerine, applied for one minute, significantly reduced the number of N gonorrhoeae on the culture plates, whereas the saline solution did not.
The clinical trial involved 196 gay/bisexual men who had previously tested positive for gonorrhoea in their mouth/throat.
A larger trial is currently underway to confirm these preliminary results and ascertain whether the use of mouthwash could curb the spread of gonorrhoea.