Dental Tribune Europe

Cannabinoids fight plaque as effectively as chlorhexidine in mouthwash—study

By Jeremy Booth, Dental Tribune International
July 24, 2020

ANTWERP, Belgium: An industry-affiliated study has found that two cannabinoid-infused mouthwash products containing cannabidiol (CBD) and cannabigerol (CBG), respectively, are as effective as 0.2% chlorhexidine mouthwash and more effective than two over-the-counter mouthwash products in inhibiting total culturable bacterial content in dental plaque samples. According to the authors, the cannabinoid-infused products are a safer, natural alternative to alcohol- and/or fluoride-containing mouthwash products.

Cannabinoids, such as CBD and CBG, are phytochemicals that are produced naturally by the cannabis plant and have been found to exhibit antimicrobial and antibacterial activity. These non-psychoactive cannabis derivatives are being used in a growing number of consumer healthcare products, including over-the-counter oral care products.

Researchers affiliated with CannIBite, an Antwerp-based company that develops cannabinoid-infused dental care products, tested the brand’s CBD- and CBG-infused mouthwashes in vitro against the total culturable bacteria from dental plaque samples collected from 72 adults. The efficacy of these products in inhibiting the bacteria was compared with that of 0.2% chlorhexidine digluconate and that of two popular consumer mouthwash products—one containing essential oils and alcohol (Product A) and one containing fluoride and no alcohol (Product B).

On average, the products infused with cannabinoids were found to display a similar or better bacterial efficacy when compared with 0.2% chlorhexidine. The cannabinoid-infused mouthwashes and 0.2% chlorhexidine were found to be effective against all of the samples that were tested. Product A showed only marginal antimicrobial activity with a zone of inhibition of 7–8 mm in only nine of the tested samples, and Product B showed no detectable inhibition zone in any of the tested samples.

The study found that the average ranges of zones of inhibition in the samples were 18.1 mm for the CBD-infused mouthwash, 17.7 mm for the CBG-infused mouthwash, 16.8 mm for chlorhexidine, and 0.1 mm and 0.0 mm for Product A and Product B, respectively.

No significant difference was observed between the CBD- and CBG-infused mouthwashes. “To our knowledge, this is the first report on such efficient mouthwash products with natural key ingredients including cannabinoids and without any kind of fluoride or alcohol,” the authors wrote.

Synthetic cannabinoids have been shown to regulate biofilm formation by interfering in autoinducer-2 (AI-2) quorum sensing signalling cascade: this, in combination with their antimicrobial agency, the authors wrote, makes them good candidates for application in dental care. The authors also pointed out that chlorhexidine can cause tooth discoloration and that cannabinoid-infused mouthwash products may therefore be an appealing alternative.

The study, titled “Cannabinoids infused mouthwash products are as effective as chlorhexidine on inhibition of total-culturable bacterial content in dental plaque samples”, was published on 23 June 2020 in the Journal of Cannabis Research.

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