For years, the makers of Listerine mouthwash have claimed that their product could be used to combat oral gonorrhea, and now a new medical study in Australia indicates that daily use could reduce the spread of the STD.
With PrEP becoming more popular in the fight against HIV, physicians are aware that condom use is dropping. And with that, there has been a rise in some STDs like oral gonorrhea in gay/bisexual men.
But now, it seems daily gargling with Listerine could significantly reduce the amount of gonorrhea bacteria in the mouth and throat.
From the Washington Blade:
In laboratory tests, the authors of this new study found that Listerine Cool Mint and Total Care (which are both 21.6 percent alcohol) significantly reduced levels of gonorrhea bacteria. A saltwater (saline) solution did not, researchers found.
The researchers then conducted a clinical trial with 58 gay/bisexual men who previously tested positive for gonorrhea in their mouths/throats. The men were randomly assigned to rinse and gargle for one minute with either Listerine or a salt solution.
After doing so, the amount of viable gonorrhea in the throat was 52 percent in the Listerine group and 84 percent among those who used the salt solution. Five minutes later, men in the Listerine group were 80 percent less likely to test positive for gonorrhea in the throat than those in the salt solution group.
The study was published online Dec. 20 in the journal Sexually Transmitted Diseases.
The monitoring period after gargling was short, so it’s possible the effects of Listerine might be short-term, but the lab findings suggest otherwise, according to the researchers.
A larger study is underway to confirm these preliminary findings.