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Mouthwash Products Might Protect Us From COVID-19, Studies Find

    Mouthwash Products Might Protect Us From COVID-19, Studies Find

    Day in and day out, experts remind us that to reduce the spread of SARS-CoV2 infection, little things, like wearing masks and practicing physical distancing, count. Now, some tips online suggest that even common items, such as nasal rinses, throat sprays, and mouthwash, can be used as protection against COVID-19. What’s the truth behind this widely shared and practiced COVID prevention tip?

    Mouthwash products might offer protection against COVID, studies find

    If you come across posts saying that mouthwash can be used as protection against COVID-19, below are the premises behind them.

    In one study, the researchers observed if common over-the-counter nasal rinses and mouthwashes can inactivate high concentrations of human coronaviruses. Results showed that mouthwash or gargle products were highly effective in inactivating more than 99.9% of the infectious virus within just 30 seconds of contact time.

    The researchers also noted that a nasal rinse made with 1% baby shampoo inactivated more than 99.9% of the human coronavirus, but it needed more contact time (2 minutes).

    mouthwash as protection against covid

    Another scientific investigation tested the viricidal properties of some oral rinses under conditions that mimicked the nasopharyngeal secretions. The report concluded that some of the formulations have significant SARS-CoV2 inactivating properties. This finding, according to them, might support the idea that oral rinses could reduce the viral load in saliva.

    And finally, one report stated that two brands of mouthwash (Listerine and Chlorhexidine) “disrupted” the COVID-19 virus with little effect on the skin of the mouth that provides a barrier from the virus.

    The Limitations

    The idea that mouthwash can be used as protection against COVID-19 is promising, but experts remind the public that we still need more investigations and research. They explained there were limitations to the studies we currently have.

    Some of these limitations include:

    • The use of human coronaviruses. Case in point, the first study we discussed did not use the potentially deadly SARS-CoV2; the researchers used human coronaviruses, which can cause mild respiratory infections like the common cold.
    • Checking only for the viricidal properties, which pertain to the ability of the oral rinses to inactivate the virus. Several reports didn’t check for the antiviral properties, which point to the ability to stop the proliferation.
    • In vitro conditions. Many of the investigations took place under laboratory conditions, which is not the same with the oral environment. This is even though some researchers tried to mimic the nasopharyngeal secretions.

    Nasal and Throat Sprays Against COVID-19

    As we wait for further studies on mouthwash products, it’s interesting to learn that some institutions came up with nasal and throat sprays that can give protection against COVID.

    Chula Pharmaceutical, for instance, said that their herbal (longan extract) nasal and throat spray “can reduce the amount of viruses that attach to the mucous membranes.”

    Meanwhile, a Canadian company is set to test their throat and nasal spray that “would stop infection by COVID-19 and its variants”. Their investigation centered on bacteriophages that destroy bacteria. Now, the company said their researchers found a way to create “synthetic phages that destroy specific bacteria or viruses.”

    mouthwash as protection against covid

    Final Reminders

    If scientists can prove that mouthwash products can offer protection against COVID-19, it would be such a huge help. In the meantime, here are some essential reminders:

    • In general, mouthwash products are safe as long as you use them according to their instructions. For instance, if the package says you can only use them twice a day, 12 hours apart, don’t use the oral rinse after every meal.
    • Many nasal and throat sprays are available over-the-counter. However, refrain from purchasing one just for the purpose of protecting yourself against COVID-19. Remember that they have specific purposes. Nasal sprays often help treat allergies and congestion; throat sprays can help soothe a sore throat.
    • Do not purchase any product not approved by the Food and Drug Administration.

    And finally, keep in mind that mouthwash products cannot replace health and safety protocols. Continue to practice handwashing, physical distancing, and the wearing of masks and face shields.

    Learn more about Health News here.

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    Sources

    Lowering the transmission and spread of human coronavirus
    https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/jmv.26514
    Accessed April 8, 2021

    Virucidal Efficacy of Different Oral Rinses Against Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2
    https://academic.oup.com/jid/article/222/8/1289/5878067
    Accessed April 8, 2021

    Certain mouthwashes might stop COVID-19 virus transmission
    https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2021-03/ru-cmm031621.php
    Accessed April 8, 2021

    4) Use of mouthwashes against COVID-19 in dentistry
    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32859459/
    Accessed April 8, 2021

    Chula Pharmaceutical Science Developed Herbal Nasal and Throat Spray to Prevent COVID-19 Infection
    https://www.chula.ac.th/en/news/44214/
    Accessed April 8, 2021

    Researchers test spray to prevent COVID-19 infection
    https://www.rcinet.ca/en/2021/03/22/researchers-test-spray-to-prevent-covid-19-infection/
    Accessed April 8, 2021

    Picture of the authorbadge
    Written by Lorraine Bunag, R.N. Updated Jul 16, 2021
    Medically reviewed by Stephanie Nera, RPh, PharmD
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