The health industry has exploded with an ever-increasing range of cannabis-infused products; pain-relieving topical lotions and salves, massage oils, shampoos, foundation and skin care products, eye makeup, lip balms, bath bombs and more. The latest product looking to hit the market is cannabinoid-infused mouthwash. A Belgian company, CannIBite, launched a study on how their cannabinoid-infused mouthwashes compared with a selection of over-the-counter (OTC) brands. In this article I will give details of the study methodology and provide the results.
The Belgian Based Study
The supposition of the Belgian-based study, which appears in the Journal of Cannabis Research, is that a cannabinoid-infused mouthwash has the potential to duplicate the bacteria-killing properties of chlorhexidine. The company which initiated the study is CannIBite, founded by Veronica Stahl, a dental practitioner. She designed, funded and co-authored the study.
Uses For Mouthwash
The majority of those who use mouthwash do so for the following reasons:
- Removes food from around their teeth
- Eliminates bacteria buildup which causes plaque
- Controls gingivitis
- Maintains fresh breath
The Mouthwashes Used in the Study
Product 1: A 0.2% chlorhexidine solution
Product 2: A CBD and spearmint oil solution
Product 3: A CBG and spearmint oil solution
Product 4: An alcohol-free mouthwash with added fluoride (OTC)
Product 5: A solution with essential oils and alcohol (OTC)
Reasons For These 5 Choices
To compare the effectiveness of their cannabinoid-infused products to other non-cannabinoid products, Stahl’s team chose to use:
- Product 1, Chlorexidine digluconate 0.2%, considered the gold standard by the mouthwash industry, as a positive control. It is typically prescribed for short-term use only, as it not only stains the teeth but it may kill healthy bacteria necessary to maintain good health.
- Product 4 and 5 represented the most commonly available OTC products
There were 72 participants; 38 women and 34 men between the ages of 18 and 83, chosen from Euro-Dent clinic in Mortsel, Belgium. The samples that researchers took from all the participants were grown in a lab and tested on the five types of mouthwash. The period of exposure of the samples to the mouthwashes was either for 24 or 36 hours. The samples were then measured for the amount of bacterial growth that was present.
Photographs of the agar plates included in the study verified the results. The samples treated with both cannabinoid-infused mouthwashes and the chlorhexidine mouthwash showed very similar findings; circles with no visible bacteria. The samples treated with the OTC mouthwashes were covered by a film that was hazy and speckled.
It is important to note that the samples were open-label in which clinical trial information is made available to the participants. In addition, it was not a blind study. The person who manually applied the different mouthwashes to the samples and measured the results was aware of the products being tested.
This controlled and randomized trial started in October 2019 and continued until March 2020.
Dental Plaque Sampling
Saliva on the surface of the teeth was removed using a water spray and the targeted sample area was dried with a cotton ball. Plaque samples were collected from between the teeth using a disposable microbush applicator. They were immediately inserted into a 2 ml microtube which contained 1 ml of phosphate buffer saline. An in vitro analysis was processed within 24 hours.
Criteria For Participants To Qualify For The Study
- Have at least 7 teeth including one molar
- Must not have dentures
- Must have no recent use of antimicrobial or immunosuppressant drug therapy
- Have no history of diabetes
Dutch Periodontal Screening Index (DPSI)
Participants were grouped based on the Dutch periodontal screening index (DPSI) score:
- 0 - perfect gum with no bleeding
- 1 - inflammation and bleeding of gums (gingivitis)
- 2 - in addition to category 1, chalk hardened dental plaque
- -3 - in addition to category 2, bone involvement (periodontitis)
- +3 - in addition to category -3 with gum recession and root exposure
- 4 - in addition to category +3 with severe bone resorption and high tooth mobility
Those with the scores of 0, 1 and 4 were rarely seen in the Euro-Dent clinic during the period of the study. Therefore, only those with scores of 2, (50 participants), +3 (10 participants) and -3 (12 participants) were included.
- Both cannabinoid-infused mouthwashes replicated the effectiveness of the 0.2% chlorhexidine mouthwash in the killing of bacteria on all the tested samples.
- There was no difference between the bactericidal properties of the CBD mouthwash and the CBG mouthwash. In addition, the cannabinoid-infused mouthwash products did not discolor the teeth.
- The alchohol based and fluoride based mouthwashes did not show any significant bactericidal activity on any of the tested samples.
Cannabinoid-infused mouthwashes, when combined with other natural essential ingredients, show a lot of promising bacteria-killing activity of in vitro samples containing dental plaque.
The researchers thought it was important to note that this study was the first of its kind in an analysis of an effective mouthwash product that included cannabinoids and excluded fluoride and alcohol.
Patents for the use of cannabinoids in oral and dental care products are currently still pending. With CBD-based chewing gum already available for purchase, the future of more cannabinoid-infused oral hygiene products looks very encouraging.
jcannabisresearch.com, Cannabinoids Infused Mouthwash Products Are as Effective as chlorhexidine on Inhibition of Total-Culturable bacterial Content in dental Plaque Samples, June 23, 2020
healthmj.com, New Cannabis Oral Care Study: CBD-Infused Mouthwash Fights Dental Plaque Buildup, Mia Di Stefano, July 8, 2020