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Sodium Hypochlorite (On the skin)

Cleans skin and certain types of wounds to treat or prevent infection.

What works?

Learn more about the effects of these drugs. The most reliable research is summed up for you in our featured article.

Brand names include
Dakin's, Dakin's Solution Full Strength, Dakin's Solution Half Strength, Dakin's Solution Quarter Strength, Di-Dak-Sol, H-Chlor 12, H-Chlor 6, Hysept
Drug classes About this
Antibacterial, Wound Care Agent

What works? Research summarized

Evidence reviews

Irrigating solutions for use in root canal treatment of teeth

Root canal treatment may be carried out as an alternative to dental extraction on a tooth in which the nerve has been injured or has died. Root canal treatment is carried out because the offending canal is infected or the pulp severely inflamed. The aim of root canal treatment is to eliminate bacteria from, and prevent their further entry to the root canal system. The technique involves cleaning and removal of any remaining bacteria and nerve canal contents. Elimination of any remaining infection improves the chance of success, and irrigation of the canal with certain types of solutions during the procedure can be helpful in achieving this. A range of antiseptic and antibacterial irrigating solutions are available. Sodium hypochlorite (NaOCl) in a variety of strengths has been used by dentists for many years, but concerns have been raised about its toxicity and the occasional report of pain when higher concentrations are used. Chlorhexidine, an antimicrobial, has also been used in a variety of concentrations as either a solution or gel. Combinations of antibiotic and a detergent (MTAD) have been recently developed and are being used increasingly.

Efficacy of sodium hypochlorite and chlorhexidine against Enterococcus faecalis: a systematic review

This review concluded that sodium hypochlorite had low ability to eliminate Enterococcus faecalis when evaluated by polymerase chain reaction or by culture. It included small studies with uncertain validity and the authors' conclusions should be treated with caution.

Should the 'bleach microscopy method' be recommended for improved case detection of tuberculosis: literature review and key person analysis

SETTING: It has been proposed that the sensitivity of direct sputum smear microscopy can be improved if sputum is liquefied with sodium hypochlorite (NaOCl or household bleach), and concentrated by centrifugation before acid-fast staining.

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Summaries for consumers

Irrigating solutions for use in root canal treatment of teeth

Root canal treatment may be carried out as an alternative to dental extraction on a tooth in which the nerve has been injured or has died. Root canal treatment is carried out because the offending canal is infected or the pulp severely inflamed. The aim of root canal treatment is to eliminate bacteria from, and prevent their further entry to the root canal system. The technique involves cleaning and removal of any remaining bacteria and nerve canal contents. Elimination of any remaining infection improves the chance of success, and irrigation of the canal with certain types of solutions during the procedure can be helpful in achieving this. A range of antiseptic and antibacterial irrigating solutions are available. Sodium hypochlorite (NaOCl) in a variety of strengths has been used by dentists for many years, but concerns have been raised about its toxicity and the occasional report of pain when higher concentrations are used. Chlorhexidine, an antimicrobial, has also been used in a variety of concentrations as either a solution or gel. Combinations of antibiotic and a detergent (MTAD) have been recently developed and are being used increasingly.

Interventions for cleaning dentures in adults

Plaque formed on the surfaces of removable dentures can have a significant impact on oral health, as long as it can lead to infection of denture‐supporting mucosa (stomatitis), gum inflammation (gingivitis) and tooth decay. Denture plaque can be removed by several different methods which include: brushing with paste, soaking in chemicals (e.g. effervescent tablets or bleach) and using special devices (a microwave oven or ultrasonic device).

Antibiotics and antiseptics for surgical wounds healing by secondary intention

These are surgical wounds which are left open to heal through the growth of new tissue, rather than being closed in the usual way with stitches or other methods which bring the wound edges together. This is usually done when there is a high risk of infection or a large amount of tissue has been lost from the wound. Wounds which are often treated in this way include chronic wounds in the cleft between the buttocks (pilonidal sinuses) and some types of abscesses.

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