With the novel coronavirus showing no signs of abating, and the UK going in and out of lockdowns, both local and countrywide, anything that helps ward the virus off is welcome. As it turns out, preliminary studies have suggested that certain mouthwashes can kill COVID-19 in the mouth and could therefore cut transmission of the virus via saliva droplets.
Scientists at Cardiff University called for further research to be conducted into how mouthwash could be used to cut the levels of COVID-19 in saliva. Their initial research found that some mouthwash is able to kill COVID-19 within 30 seconds of exposure to it in a laboratory. The mouthwash needed to contain 0.07% of cetylpyridinium chloride (CPC.) After promising results a 12-week clinical trial is being started at University Hospital of Wales and findings will be published in early 2021.
Speaking about the research Dr Nick Claydon, a specialist periodontist told Sky, “if these positive results are reflected in Cardiff University's clinical trial, CPC-based mouthwashes such as Dentyl used in the in vitro study could become an important addition to people's routine, together with hand-washing, physical distancing and wearing masks, both now and in the future."
However, it's important to be clear that mouthwash will not become a treatment for coronavirus, but if the results of the study are borne out, it could have the potential to bring down the infection rate by reducing the amount of virus present in people's mouths and potentially the viral load that others receive. The scientists involved in the study stressed that people should continue to follow government advice to keep themselves and others protected from coronavirus.
This isn’t the first study into how mouthwash could help reduce the spread of COVID-19. Research conducted by Unilever found if you use a mouthwash that contains cetylpyridinium chloride it may kill COVID-19. Cetylpyridinium chloride has a 'virucidal effect' that can kill 99.9% of pathogens in your mouth. Both studies are still in its early stages and is yet to be peer-reviewed.
Good Morning Britain's resident doctor, Dr Hilary Jones, disputed the Unilever study on air. He said, “Mouthwash might help as a virucidal, a bactericidal, to some extent. But whether it could actually penetrate deep into the lungs and nose where COVID-19 is lurking, I think is a bit far-fetched, and I think we have to be cautious with this. I think it might help with sales of mouthwash right now, but I don't think we should rely on it."
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