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Eur J Oral Sci. 2003 Oct;111(5):400-4.

Inhibition of orally produced volatile sulfur compounds by zinc, chlorhexidine or cetylpyridinium chloride--effect of concentration.

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Department of Cariology, Faculty of Dentistry, University of Oslo, Oslo, Norway.


Zinc ions, chlorhexidine (CHX) and cetylpyridinium chloride (CPC) are all known to inhibit production of volatile sulfur compounds (VSCs). The objective was to examine the anti-VSC dose-response effects of each of the above agents. Oral malodor was induced in 13 test subjects using the cysteine challenge method. The oral VSC response to rinses with 6 mm l-cysteine (pH 7.2) before and 1, 2 and 3 h after rinsing with zinc ions (Zn2+: 0.1, 0.3 and 1.0%), CHX and CPC (0.025 and 0.2%) was measured. Mouth air was analysed for VSC by gas chromatography (GC) according to current methodology. Zinc had a marked dose- and time-dependent anti-VSC effect. Zinc at 1% concentration had a somewhat unpleasant taste, whereas the lowest concentration was found acceptable. Chlorhexidine maintained a moderate anti-VSC effect over time. At 3 h, 0.2% CHX was the most effective agent but tasted relatively unpleasant. Cetylpyridinium at a concentration of 0.2% was only marginally more effective than 0.025% CHX over the 3 h, while 0.025% CPC had no better anti-VSC effect than water at both 2 h and 3 h. It was concluded that the three test agents demonstrated different anti-VSC kinetics. Although Zn had the best anti-VSC effect at 1 h, 0.2% CHX was at least as effective as 1% Zn at 3 h, most likely as a result of its unique substantivity.

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