(HealthDay News) — Listerine mouthwash may be potentially useful for gonorrhea control, according to a study published online Dec. 20 in Sexually Transmitted Infections.

Eric P.F. Chow, Ph.D., M.P.H., from Monash University in Melbourne, Australia, and colleagues conducted both an in vitro study and a randomized controlled trial to assess whether Listerine mouthwash has an inhibitory effect against Neisseria gonorrhoeae. In vitro N. gonorrhoeae was added to a serial of dilutions (up to 1:32). Additionally, pharyngeal swabs for culture of N. gonorrhoeae were taken from 58 culture-positive men with pharyngeal gonorrhea before and after rinsing and gargling.

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The researchers found that Listerine mouthwashes at dilutions of up to 1:4 for one minute resulted in significant reduction of total N. gonorrhoeae counts, but phosphate buffered saline has no inhibitory effect against N. gonorrhoeae. In the randomized controlled trial, men in the Listerine group were significantly less likely to be culture positive on the pharyngeal surface after gargling the allocated solution versus men in the saline group (52 versus 84 percent; P = 0.013).

“[These] data suggest Listerine significantly reduces the amount of N. gonorrhoeae on the pharyngeal surface,” the authors write. “With daily use it may increase gonococcal clearance and have important implications for prevention strategies.”

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