Objective: A variety of oral topical agents have been used for prevention and management of radiotherapy-induced adverse effects. The antimicrobial nature of some of the commonly used agents is unknown. The purpose of this study was to evaluate antimicrobial efficacies of various oral topical agents on common microorganisms associated with radiated head and neck cancer patients. Method and Materials: Seven commonly used topical oral agents—0.12% chlorhexidine with alcohol, 0.12% chlorhexidine without alcohol, baking soda–salt rinse, 0.4% stannous fluoride gel, 0.63% stannous fluoride rinse, calcium phosphate mouthrinse, and acemannan hydrogel (aloe vera) rinse—were evaluated in vitro for their antimicrobial efficacies against four common microorganisms. A combination of baking soda–salt rinse and 0.4% stannous fluoride gel was evaluated as the eighth agent. The microorganisms used were Staphylococcus aureus, group B Streptococcus, Escherichia coli, and Candida albicans. An ELISA reader was used to measure the turbidity of microbial culture wells and optical density (OD) values for each of the 960 wells recorded. Mean OD values were rank ordered based on their turbidity. One-way ANOVA with Tukey HSD post hoc analysis was used to study differences in OD values (P < .05). Results: Mean OD values classified for topical agents from lowest to highest were chlorhexidine with alcohol, chlorhexidine without alcohol, baking soda– salt, calcium phosphate rinse, and the combination of baking soda–salt and stannous fluoride gel. Mean OD values classified for microorganisms from lowest to highest were Escherichia coli, Staphylococcus aureus, group B Streptococcus, and Candida albicans. Conclusion: A significant difference among the antimicrobial efficacies of topical agents was evident for each of four microorganisms (P < .05). There was also a significant difference among the antimicrobial efficacies of the same topical agent on the four microorganisms tested (P < .05).
Keywords: antimicrobial rinse, chlorhexidine, head and neck cancer, microorganism, mucositis, radiated patient