Shocking! Ingredients in Mouthwash Linked to Deadly 'Superbug'

Nov 03, 2016 05:21 AM EDT

This might be a great time to think about switching to garlic instead of sticking to your mouthwash. A chemical used in mouthwash may be fueling the rise of a superbug, Mirror reported.

Superbugs are bacteria resistant to antibiotics. WebMD noted that about 2 million people get sick from a superbug and about 23,000 die, making superbug a worldwide worry that is prompting immediate action.

A new study published in the journal American Society for Microbiology has revealed that chlorhexidine, an active ingredient of the popular antiseptic mouthwash Corsodyl, is making certain bacteria immune to antibiotics. The researchers looked Gram-negative pathogens including Klebsiella pneumonia.
The study said Klebsiella pneumoniae, from the so-called "ESKAPEE" group, are of particular concern due to their high levels of antibiotic resistance.

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Products containing chlorhexidine are almost always present in a number of household products which is why the bacteria become resistant to it. When the bacteria is exposed to Corsodyl, it becomes defiant tocolistin, a "last resort" antibiotic used to treat infections when no other drug will work.

Klebsiella pneumoniae can cause pneumonia, meningitis and other infections, notes NHS UK. Meanwhile, the study's lead author, Mark Sutton, needs further study to see how much will it affect the present situation.

Reacting to the findings, Dr. Huabing Yin of Glasgow University, told Mail that it was doubtful someone using a small amount of mouthwash could be susceptible to superbugs.

However: "If people use mouthwash, they will spit it out in their house, then it goes into waste water. This leaves the compound in the environment and it cannot be removed using normal waste water treatment. If it ends up in a river, it may increase resistance to colistin of aquatic organisms which then can be accumulated in the ecosystem -- it can come to affect us all," he said.

The study was carried out by researchers from the Technology Development Group, Public Health England, Microbiology Services Division in the U.K.

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