Sexually transmitted diseases still cause infections and suffering around the world, but public health authorities are hopeful that help might come from an unexpected quarter. An old mouthwash has just been found to help fight the bacteria that cause gonorrhea, Neisseria gonorrhoeae.
Listerine Mouthwash Put to the Test:
Australian researchers tested Listerine Cool Mint and Total Care both in test tubes and in men who had been diagnosed with this sexually transmitted disease. The alcohol-containing Listerine mouthwashes significantly reduced the growth of the bacteria responsible for gonorrhea in both situations.
Although the original manufacturer of Listerine promoted its use against gonorrhea more than 100 years ago, evidence of effectiveness was lacking until now. The authors suggest that if these findings are confirmed, daily use of this affordable mouthwash could have significant public health benefits.
Gonorrhea that is left untreated can cause serious complications. These include pelvic inflammatory disease in women and fertility difficulties in men. The infection usually responds well to appropriate antibiotic treatment, though N. gonorrhoeae is developing resistance to the primary antibiotics used. Although using Listerine mouthwash daily won’t eliminate the possibility of spreading the infection, public health officials hope it will reduce the risk.