We live in uncertain times as we face the COVID-19 pandemic. Besides social distancing, you’ve probably heard several tips to reduce the spread of the virus. While some are true, like frequent hand washing, there are others that aren’t necessarily effective, like using a mouthwash to lessen the risk of transmitting the virus. Although there’s some truth to this, here’s what you need to know to keep yourself and others safe during the COVID-19 crisis.
Mouthwash and Combatting COVID-19
Over the last several weeks, there have been various COVID-19 studies. Among them were the effects mouthwash can have on killing the virus. The recent papers out of China reported the use of chlorhexidine to prevent and control the aerosol transmission of COVID-19. With viral particles found on the saliva of infected patients, using the mouthwash before dental procedures can temporarily reduce the presence of COVID-19 in the mouth; however, the effects are short-lived.
Based on the results of the studies, it’s normal to assume using mouthwash at home can help combat COVID-19, but the answer isn’t as simple as improving your oral hygiene. While good dental habits are important, COVID-19 is initiated and spread in the oral and nasal cavities and the throat. No matter how well you brush and floss or the type of mouthwash you use, your oral hygiene habits have no effect on the transmission to these locations.
At this time, the American Dental Association and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention don’t endorse using chlorine dioxide or chlorhexidine to destroy the virus. You can continue to use your daily mouthwash, but don’t expect it to lessen your risk of COVID-19.
COVID-19 and Your Oral Health
Although your oral hygiene habits won’t necessarily prevent transmitting COVID-19, there are steps you can take at home to keep you safe. It’s best to disinfect your toothbrush after every use. Dilute 1 teaspoon of 3% hydrogen peroxide in 1 cup of water to soak your toothbrush. If you’ve recently recovered from illness or you have symptoms of COVID-19, it’s best to replace your toothbrush.
Your brushing and flossing habits are more important than ever because many dental offices are closed, so you may need to delay your cleaning and checkup. It’s best to brush your teeth at least twice per day for 2 minutes per session and floss every night before going to bed. A mouthwash can complement your oral hygiene routine based on your individual needs, such as combatting dry mouth or tooth sensitivity.
Keep Your Smile Healthy
As we spend more time at home, there’s no better time than now to recommit to a healthy smile. With your dental health directly related to your general well-being, you can help keep your mouth and body healthy using a regular oral hygiene routine.
About Dr. Michitti
Dr. Michitti is committed to helping his patients achieve happier lives through a healthy smile. Besides his dental degree, he has over 1,000 hours of continuing education in several areas of specialty, like dental implants. If you need a dentist during the COVID-19 pandemic, Dr. Michitti is here for you. Contact our office today to schedule an appointment.