Get access

Bacterial comparison of preoperative rinsing and swabbing for oral surgery using 0.2% chlorhexidine




The aim of the present study was to compare bacterial load using preoperative rinsing and swabbing techniques for oral surgery with 0.2% chlorhexidine (CHX).


Participants were healthy volunteers undergoing a general anesthetic for the removal of teeth. Participants were randomly allocated to receive 15 mL of 0.2% CHX for 60 s as either a rinse or have their mouths swabbed. Plaque samples were aseptically collected pre- and post-rinsing from the same sites in all patients (the distal surface of all second molar teeth).


Patients in the swab group had similar bacteria counts before and after the application of CHX (143.4 vs 138.5 colonies, = 1.000). After rinsing with CHX, there was an eightfold reduction of bacterial load (71 vs 8.8 colonies, < 0.001).


The present study demonstrates that the use of CHX as an antimicrobial agent is effective in reducing the overall number of bacterial colonies in the oral cavity. Rinsing is a more effective method of doing this.