Coronavirus: can mouthwash protect you against the virus?
Scientists have called for urgent research after finding gargling mouthwash could kill Coronavirus and slash the risk of infection. The call comes after a team of researchers from Cardiff University led a study to assess the importance of the throat and saliva glands in the replication of Covid-19. They stated that their research showed that mouthwash has the potential to “destroy the outermost layer or envelope of the virus, preventing it from replicating in the mouth and throat in the early stages of an infection”.
So will mouthwash be the next panic buy item to stock-up on? Should we take this claim seriously at all? Before you make a dash to every joint that sells mouthwash, here is all you need to know:
Does mouthwash really kill coronavirus?
- Although scientists are calling for urgent research to carry out further tests on the effectiveness of mouthwashes killing the virus, there is currently no clinical evidence to show that it would be successful. The World Health Organization (WHO) has also stated that there is no evidence that mouthwash will save you.
- There is no doubt that some brands of mouthwash can destroy certain microbes for a few minutes in the saliva in your mouth, but it does not mean that they protect you from Covid-19 infection.
- Generally, it’s really important to ensure you are keeping on top of your oral health at this time (and other times!) by adopting a proper morning and evening routine so as not to compromise your health. This means brushing at least twice daily, flossing and using a mouthwash.
- Yes, mouthwashes are a good final step to adopt in your dental routine to ensure there are non lingering plaque or bacteria in your mouth.
- You should be having a good amount of mouthwash, swilling it around in your mouth a number of times, gargling it so it teaches the back of the throat and tonsils, and then after a minute spit it out and wash your mouth with fresh water. This will ensure it reaches all areas of your mouth.
How might mouthwash work to reduce transmission?
- The ingredients of most dental mouthwashes include cetylpyridinium, chlorhexidine, chloride, hydrogen peroxide and povidone-iodine and they all have the potential to prevent infection and kill bad bacteria, but of course more research needs to be done.
- This could mean that if you are using a mouthwash twice daily you are increasing your chances of killing any droplets which may be sitting in your mouth.
- So, really mouthwash is a good thing to use for your general oral health, but it is unlikely that mouthwash alone can protect you from coronavirus, or cure you. The virus can enter not only through the mouth but through the nose and eyes too.
- At this time, it is even more important to be on top of your oral hygiene. The best way to protect yourself is to be sensible and clean and continue to follow government health guidance.
- Keeping washing your hands regularly and thoroughly, maintaining a social distance of two meters from people and avoiding public transport.
- If you don’t have a mouthwash or don’t use it routinely, it’s a good idea to start now just to observe general oral health and protect yourself.