Mouth­wash may cure ‘the clap’

Kuwait Times - - HEALTH & SCIENCE -

In the 19th cen­tury, be­fore the ad­vent of an­tibi­otics, Lis­ter­ine mouth­wash was mar­keted as a cure for gon­or­rhea. More than 100 years later, re­searchers said yes­ter­day the claim may be true. Lis­ter­ine killed gon­or­rhea bac­te­ria in petri dishes in the lab, and in the throats of in­fected peo­ple, a team re­ported in the jour­nal Sex­u­ally Trans­mit­ted In­fec­tions. This meant that daily rins­ing and gar­gling with the pop­u­lar mouth­wash “might be a cheap and easy” way to pre­vent and con­trol the sex­u­ally trans­mit­ted in­fec­tion (STI), they said.

De­spite claims by the man­u­fac­turer as far back as 1879 that Lis­ter­ine treats gon­or­rhea, no pub­lished sci­en­tific stud­ies had tested the as­ser­tion, wrote the Aus­tralian re­search team. So they de­cided to do ex­actly that, driven by con­cern over ris­ing gon­or­rhea in­fec­tion lev­els in many coun­tries, es­pe­cially among gay and bi­sex­ual men. Also known as “the clap”, gon­or­rhea is spread through un­pro­tected oral, vagi­nal or anal sex.

The team grew cul­tures of Neis­se­ria gon­or­rhea bac­te­ria in the lab, then ap­plied dif­fer­ent di­lu­tions of two dif­fer­ent types of al­co­hol-con­tain­ing Lis­ter­ine mouth­wash. Lis­ter­ine “sig­nif­i­cantly re­duced” the amount of bac­te­ria on the cul­ture plates, whereas a saline so­lu­tion did not. The team then con­ducted a trial with gon­or­rhea-in­fected men, test­ing the bac­te­ria lev­els in their throats be­fore and af­ter gar­gling with Lis­ter­ine.

Com­pared to those rins­ing with a salt-water so­lu­tion, those who used the mouth­wash had less gon­or­rhea bac­te­ria in the throat five min­utes af­ter gar­gling, the team re­ported. “Lis­ter­ine mouth­wash is a cheap, easy-to-use and ef­fec­tive agent that in­hibits gon­or­rhea growth and re­quires fur­ther care­ful con­sid­er­a­tion and study,” wrote the re­searchers. Ac­cord­ing to the 2005 book Freako­nomics, Lis­ter­ine was in­vented as a sur­gi­cal an­ti­sep­tic, later sold as a floor cleaner and gon­or­rhea cure. It be­came a com­mer­cial suc­cess in the 1920s as a so­lu­tion for bad breath. — AFP

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Kuwait

© PressReader. All rights reserved.