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Adjunctive use of chlorhexidine in oral candidoses: a review

Authors

  • ANB Ellepola,

    1. Oral Bio-Sciences, Faculty of Dentistry, University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong SAR;
    2. Division of Pharmacology, Department of Oral Medicine, Faculty of Dental Sciences, University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka
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  • LP Samaranayake

    1. Oral Bio-Sciences, Faculty of Dentistry, University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong SAR;
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Professor LP Samaranayake, Chair of Oral Microbiology, Oral Bio-Sciences, Faculty of Dentistry, The Prince Philip Dental Hospital, 34 Hospital Road, Hong Kong. Tel: 00 852 2859 0480, Fax: 00 852 2547 6133, E-mail: lakshman@hkucc.hku.hk

Abstract

Oral candidosis is by far the commonest human fungal infection and manifests in a variety of clinical guises. The main reason for its high incidence appears to be the multiplicity of predisposing factors, which facilitate the conversion of oral commensal Candida to a parasitic existence. Despite the availability of a number of effective antimycotics for the treatment of oral candidoses, failure of therapy is not uncommon owing to the unique environment of the oral cavity where the flushing effect of saliva and the cleansing action of the oral musculature tend to reduce the drug concentration to sub-therapeutic levels. For these and other reasons chlorhexidine is widely prescribed in dentistry both as an antiseptic mouthwash and a denture disinfectant in order to supplement other antifungals. Chlorhexidine has a broad spectrum of antimicrobial activity including Candida albicans and other common non-albicans yeast species. In this review we outline the utility of chlorhexidine as an adjunct to conventional antimycotic therapy in the management of oral Candida infections.

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