Could Mouthwash Prevent Transmission of Coronavirus? Scientists Urge New Research


Researchers and scientists are constantly looking into new ways to combat the coronavirus pandemic.

According to the DailyMail, a new report suggests that mouthwash may have the potential to destroy COVID-19 by killing the virus before it can infect human cells.

The study, posted in Function, was led by a team in Cardiff University School of Medicine consisting of “virologists, lipid specialists and healthcare experts."

Researchers believe that mouthwash could destroy the outermost layer of the virus, preventing its replication in the mouth and throat.

"In test tube experiments and limited clinical studies, some mouthwashes contain enough of known virucidal ingredients to effectively target lipids in similar enveloped viruses,” the study continued.

However, the researchers do not say with certainty that mouthwash prevents the novel virus and emphasize that there is no clinical evidence that it would be successful.

Mouthwash and other disinfectant products should never be ingested.

"Safe use of mouthwash – as in gargling – has so far not been considered by public health bodies in the UK," said lead author Professor O’Donnell, co-director of Cardiff University’s Systems Immunity Research Institute.

The researchers believe that urgent testing needs to be done to look into the effectiveness of mouthwash in trials to “determine its potential for use against this new virus.”

The World Health Organization previously issued a statement explaining “there is no evidence that using mouthwash will protect you from infection with the new coronavirus.”

Similarly, Listerine’s website notes that the “mouthwash has not been tested against any strains of coronavirus,” and “is not intended to prevent or treat COVID-19.” They noted that their mouthwash only contains 20% alcohol. The CDC previously said you need sanitizer with 70% alcohol in order for it to be effective.

“The ingredients of most dental mouthwashes include cetylpyridinium, Chlorhexidine, chloride, Hydrogen peroxide and povidone-iodine and all have the potential to prevent infection and kill bad bacteria, but of course more research needs to be done to be able to confirm this,” Sunny Sihra, dentist and founder of The SimplyTeeth Clinic told Metro.

Despite the “exciting news,” she doesn’t believe it’s necessary to run out and purchase mouthwash in bulk just yet.

“I don’t think people should start thinking that mouthwash alone will cure them of coronavirus, nor reduce spread of the virus,” she explained.

“Yes, mouthwashes are a good final step to adopt in your dental routine to ensure that you have got rid of any lingering plaque and bacteria, but it’s highly unlikely that it will completely diminish your chances of catching Covid-19, especially because you can catch it through other facial orifices such as the nose and eyes," she said.

Sunny stressed that prioritizing your health including your oral health by using mouthwash regularly.

Preventative measures issued by the WHO and CDC should be practiced including hand washing, maintaining social distance, wearing a face mask, and avoiding touching your face.

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