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Do toothpaste and mouthwash help prevent Covid-19?

According to the results of a study conducted by Colgate-Palmolive in collaboration with the Rutgers New Jersey Medical School Public Health Research Institute (NJMS) and the Regional Biosafety Laboratories, there are dental care and hygiene products that may help temporarily reduce the amount of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Covid-19, that gets into the mouth. 

Tests carried out for the study showed that certain toothpastes with elements such as zinc, stannous fluoride and amine fluoride were able to neutralise the virus by more than 99% (the virus is still present but is no longer infectious and is unable to multiply). 

Similarly, the use of mouthwashes with cetylpyridinium chloride (CPC), hydrogen peroxide, chlorhexidine or stannous fluoride amine fluoride achieved the same success rate in neutralising Covid-19. 

The virus is unable to attach itself to the cells 

According to the research, these toothpastes and mouthwashes disrupt the viral envelope to dissolve it. If this outer protective layer is removed, the virus loses its ability to attach to cells and therefore cannot infect them. 

In the case of mouthwashes, laboratory tests showed that within 30 to 60 seconds after rinsing, the virus was neutralised by up to 99.9 %. 

Although neutralisation and temporary reduction of the amount of virus present in the mouth has been demonstrated using these toothpastes and mouthwashes, there is no conclusive evidence that these products can prevent or treat Covid-19. 

As Dr David Alland, Chair of Infectious Diseases and Director of the NJMS Centre for COVID-19 Response and Pandemic Preparedness, explains: “While brushing and rinsing is not a treatment or a way to completely protect a person from infection, it can help reduce transmission and slow down the spread of the virus”. 

Therefore, although the use of toothpaste and mouthwash are highly recommended to maintain good oral hygiene and could be useful in the fight against the coronavirus, we must not forget the preventive measures recommended by the health authorities: the use of masks, social distance and hand washing. 

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