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J Investig Clin Dent. 2018 May;9(2):e12309. doi: 10.1111/jicd.12309. Epub 2017 Dec 15.

Genotoxicity of non-alcoholic mouth rinses: A micronucleus and nuclear abnormalities study with fluorescent microscopy.

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Department of Oral Pathology & Microbiology, Mamata Dental College, Khammam, Telangana, India.
Department Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology, Yenepoya Dental College, Mangalore, Karnataka, India.



The aim of the present study was to evaluate the genotoxicity of non-alcoholic mouth rinses on buccal epithelial cells using a micronucleus test.


A total of 105 patients were selected and randomly divided into five groups. Four different mouth rinses and normal saline were given for 2 weeks' duration, and cytological smears were collected before and after exposure. These smears were subjected to micronucleus (MN) and other nuclear abnormalities (ONA) tests using acridine orange stain, and their frequencies were obtained in 500 buccal epithelial cells. The statistical analysis included mean, χ2 -test, analysis of variance, and post-hoc analysis by Bonferroni test.


Micronucleated cells (P < .00) and MN (P < .00) were higher in individuals exposed to chlorhexidine (CHX), followed by chlorine dioxide (ClO2 ), potassium nitrate (KNO3 ), and sodium fluoride (NaF), amine fluoride (AmF), and normal saline. ONA were greater (P < .00) in individuals exposed to CHX, followed by ClO2 , AmF, KNO3 , and NaF and normal saline. Overall, the results showed that genotoxic damage was greater in the case of CHX, followed by ClO2 , KNO3 , and NaF, AmF, and normal saline.


Chronic exposure to mouth rinses can cause genotoxic damage to buccal epithelial cells. Long-term injudicious and inadvertent use of mouth rinses should be discouraged.


acridine orange; genotoxicity; micronucleus; mouth rinse; nuclear abnormalities

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