A group of Australian researchers discovered that mouthwash could be a useful ally when it comes to staving off throat gonorrhea infections. The scientists managed to back up Listerine’s claims of being an efficient tool in the fight against the sexually transmitted disease.
The small Australian study, which was published in the Sexually Transmitted Infections online journal on December 20th, demonstrated that Listerine could considerably reduce the spread of the Neisseria gonorrhoeae bacteria if the infection is localized in the throat of the patient.
Erich Chow and his team first tested Listerine’s claims of being the easiest way to protect yourself against gonorrhea in Petri dishes. The researchers choose two products from the mouthwash company, Listerine Total Care and Listerine Cool Mint, as the two contained alcohol, the most popular and efficient antiseptic.
After combining the mouthwash products in a number of dilutions, the scientists discovered that a ratio of one part Listerine and four parts water was efficient in stopping bacteria growth after a minute of exposure.
Since the Petri dish experiment proved to be successful, the researchers decided to test their theories on human subjects. They then gathered a sample of 58 men who were diagnosed with gonorrhea in the throat and divided them into two groups.
The first group was given a saltwater solution and the second received a dose of Cool Mint. All the participants were asked to gargle and rinse for one minute. After five minutes, the scientists collected samples from the men’s throats.
Results showed that the volunteers who used Listerine had 80 percent more chances to test negative for a gonorrhea infection than those who were given the saltwater solution. Moreover, it seems like the mouthwash is more efficient when it comes to killing bacteria located on the tonsils than bacteria that gathers further down the throat.
However, even though the results were positive, the team still mentioned the fact that the study was conducted on a small sample, a variable which usually tampers with the outcome of an experiment. More studies are needed before Listerine is named an efficient way to stave of gonorrhea infections.
Furthermore, the researchers only tested the short-term effects of mouthwash. There is a possibility that the bacteria could grow back after a few hours of use.
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