Effect of essential oil and chlorhexidine mouthwashes on gingival fibroblast survival and migration

Ioannis Tsourounakis, Angela A. Palaiologou-Gallis, Diana Stoute, Pooja Maney, Thomas E. Lallier

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


Background: Chemical plaque control is the most commonly recommended means of oral hygiene after periodontal surgery. Commercially available mouthwashes contain a variety of active ingredients that have bactericidal properties but may potentially be toxic to the host cells. The goal of this in vitro study is to investigate the effect of commercially available mouthwashes on the survival and migratory capacity of human fibroblasts. Methods: Human gingival and periodontal ligament (PDL) fibroblasts were treated with commercially available mouthwashes that contained either chlorhexidine (CHX) or essential oils (EO) as the active ingredient. Each mouthwash was tested over a range of concentrations for its ability to affect fibroblast survival and migration, as well as longterm effects on cell viability. Results: Undiluted mouthwashes induced near-complete cell death 24 hours after only a 60-second treatment. Dilutions of 15% to 20% for both CHX and EO mouthwashes resulted in 50% cell death. When diluted to 10% to 15%, EO did not reduce cell migration, whereas similar dilutions of CHX resulted in reduced cell migration. Concentrations of 10% of both EO and CHX mouthwashes retained most of their antibacterial capacity. Treatment with EO did not result in gingival fibroblast death, whereas 5% CHX resulted in near-complete gingival fibroblast death 7 days after exposure. Conclusions: The results of this in vitro study indicate that diluted EO displayed no detectable detrimental effects on human gingival and PDL fibroblasts, whereas diluted CHX reduced both cell migration and long-term survival. Both solutions retained their antimicrobial activity in lower concentrations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1211-1220
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of periodontology
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 1 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Cell movement
  • Chlorhexidine
  • Fibroblasts
  • Periodontal ligament

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Periodontics


Dive into the research topics of 'Effect of essential oil and chlorhexidine mouthwashes on gingival fibroblast survival and migration'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this