Listerine is a very good way to kill the bacteria in your mouth. It may also be a very good way to kill gonorrhea. According to a study published Tuesday, the mouthwash could be a helpful agent in combating the increasing spread of gonorrhea, which has progressively developed a resistance to antibiotics.
For the study, the Melbourne-based researchers split up a group of 58 gay or bisexual men who had been positively diagnosed with gonorrhea located on the throat. A group of 33 men were randomly assigned to gargle Listerine, and the other 25 just gargled with a saline solution.
Those who were randomly assigned to the Listerine group got lucky: 84 percent of men who used the saline solution still had gonorrhea on their throats, whereas only 52 percent of those who used Listerine showed the same symptoms.
Cheap and easy to use, the researchers hope that their study will help solidify Listerine as a non-condom-based way to control gonorrhea. According to The Guardian, the team plans on recreating this study in a larger trial group. While the manufacturer of Listerine said in 1879 that it could be used to cure gonorrhea, this is the first scientific assessment of its capabilities.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, cases of gonorrhea increased by 12.8 percent between 2014 and 2015, which is a record-level high.
“We have reached a decisive moment for the nation,” Dr. Jonathan Mermin of the CDC said in a statement. “STD rates are rising, and many of the country’s systems for preventing STDs have eroded. We must mobilize, rebuild, and expand services — or the human and economic burden will continue to grow.”
Of course, getting Listerine into the hands of people with gonorrhea certainly won’t fix the system — but it could potentially help lighten the load.