A study published by French researchers last October suggested that a one minute rinse with an antiviral mouthwash could reduce viral load in saliva by over 70%.
Nearly three years after its terrifying emergence and quick spread through an unprepared global population, you could be forgiven for thinking that the threat from Covid 19 (here in the UK, at least) has gone away. Vaccines have vastly reduced the number of hospitalisations and deaths and newly evolved variants seem to induce milder symptoms in the afflicted. However, there is still an unvaccinated population for whom the disease may have more serious effects, and elderly people who had ‘the jab’ earliest in whom the vaccine’s effectiveness may be waning.
Cases of Covid are predicted to rise sharply as we head into the winter months and there is a degree of pandemic complacency in the general population that may see a lower uptake of the booster inoculations than in previous rounds of vaccination.
An important factor in minimising the disruption caused by Covid will be to reduce the transmission of the virus from the infected (who may not know they have Covid since the abolition of free testing) to the next potential host. A study conducted by the University of Lyons published towards the end of last year suggests that mouthwash could be our ally here - especially in a clinical setting such as a dental practice.
The study divided a cohort of 176 patients with mild or asymptomatic Covid infection into two groups. The first group was given a mouthwash containing two antiviral ingredients (β-cyclodextrin and Citrox). The second group rinsed with an identical tasting mouthwash that did not have the antiviral agents.
The researchers concluded that antiviral mouthwash “...had a significant beneficial effect on reducing SARS-CoV-2 salivary viral load in adults with asymptomatic or mild COVID-19, 4 hours after the initial dose.”
In an article about the study for the Dental Tribune, the authors concluded:
“Rinsing and gargling with PerioPlus+ Regenerate is an excellent barrier measure against the spread of SARS-CoV-2. The discovery has interesting implications for fighting the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as for future antiviral preventive measures. Be it for personal or clinical use, antiviral mouthwashes could play an important role in reducing the general risk of contamination.”
Good oral hygiene is a crucial weapon in our bodies’ fight against infections. It may help to check in with your dental hygienist to make sure your oral care routine is meeting its full potential.