THIS MEDICATION IS UNLIKELY TO CAUSE HARM TO YOUR BABY:
There have been no human studies that have looked at the safety of Peridex during pregnancy, but animal studies suggest this medication is not harmful to the developing baby. The manufacturer recommends caution when administering this medication to women who are nursing babies.
What is Peridex?
Peridex is an antibacterial rinse that is used to manage dental diseases of the teeth and gums. Peridex is currently available as a generic and brand name medication. The active ingredient in Peridex is chlorhexidine gluconate. Peridex is available as an oral rinse which is not swallowed and is gargled once or twice daily in the morning and/or evening until re-evaluation of the teeth and gums at 6 months. It is available by prescription from your doctor.
What is Peridex used to treat?
Peridex is used to treat gingivitis and prevent dental plaque in children over 8 years old, adolescents, and adults. Gum diseases such as gingivitis and periodontitis are common in pregnant women. Mild gum disease or gingivitis is characterized by bad breath, inflamed, red, and swollen gums, and bleeding. Oral chlorhexidine rinse is used in conjunction with regular brushing and flossing to treat gingivitis. Severe gum disease or periodontitis is characterized by loose and sensitive teeth, receding gums, and the development of inflammation and pus formation; it is not treated with oral chlorhexidine rinses. Studies suggest severe gum disease during pregnancy may increase the risk of adverse pregnancy outcomes including preterm delivery or low birthweight.
Moms can experience gum disease. You can read more about the effects of dental health on pregnancy here.
How does Peridex work?
Peridex works by interfering with bacterial cell wall function and stability, leading to bacterial death.
If I am taking Peridex, can it harm my baby?
Topical or oral chlorhexidine is not expected to pose a risk to the baby. There are no human studies or case reports that have looked at the safety of this medication in pregnancy. Animal studies show that using Peridex during pregnancy was not associated with harm in offspring. It is recommended to use this medication with caution in pregnant women.
Evidence from animal studies with Peridex:
No evidence of birth defects has been described in studies of rats and rabbits exposed to chlorhexidine.
Evidence for the risks of Peridex in human babies:
Studies on chlorhexidine use during pregnancy focus primarily on the use of topical or intravaginal chlorhexidine given prior to delivery to prevent newborn colonization with group B streptococci. The efficacy of intravaginal chlorhexidine prior to delivery has mixed support in the literature and the long-term effects on the developing baby of exposure in the mother are unknown. No adverse effects to the developing baby related to chlorhexidine have been reported.
The amount of chlorhexidine absorbed into the body after oral use is unknown. Only small amounts of topical chlorhexidine applied to the skin are expected to be absorbed into the mother’s body or reach the developing baby.
Bottom line: There have been no human studies that have looked at the safety of Peridex during pregnancy, but animal studies suggest this medication is not harmful to the developing baby.
If I am using Peridex and become pregnant, what should I do?
If you are taking Peridex and become pregnant, you should contact your doctor immediately. Your doctor will determine if your medication is medically necessary, or if it should be discontinued until after the birth of your baby.
If I am taking Peridex, can I safely breastfeed my baby?
It is unknown if chlorhexidine passes into breast milk. However, topical application of chlorhexidine is not expected to be readily absorbed into the body or pose a significant risk of harm to the baby. Oral use (without swallowing) of chlorhexidine in women who are breastfeeding is not expected to pose a significant risk of harm to the baby, but the manufacturer recommends caution. The World Health Organization considers chlorhexidine compatible with breastfeeding.
Bottom line: The use of oral chlorhexidine in women who are breastfeeding babies is not expected to pose a significant risk of harm to the baby, but the manufacturer recommends caution.
If I am taking Peridex, will it be more difficult to get pregnant?
Animal studies suggest chlorhexidine gluconate may be toxic to male sperm.
If I am taking Peridex, what should I know?
There have been no human studies that have looked at the safety of Peridex during pregnancy, but animal studies suggest this medication is not harmful to the developing baby.
The use of oral chlorhexidine in women who are breastfeeding babies is not expected to pose a significant risk of harm to the baby, but the manufacturer recommends caution.
If I am taking any medication, what should I know?
This report provides a summary of available information about the use of Peridex during pregnancy and breastfeeding. Content is from the product label unless otherwise indicated.
You may find Pregistry's expert reports about infections and the individual medications used to treat infections here, and our report about dental conditions here. Additional information can also be found in the resources below.
For more information about Peridex during and after pregnancy, contact http://www.womenshealth.gov/ (800-994-9662 [TDD: 888-220-5446]) or check the following links.
Colgate: Peridex Mouthwash: Is It For You?
Sage Products: Peridex Prescribing Information