Could Mouthwashes and Oral Rinses Help Protect Against Coronaviruses

October 09, 2020 3 min read

 woman, gargling, mouthwash, disease prevention, virus

A recent study conducted by a team of researchers from Penn State College of Medicine studied if common mouthwashes and oral rinses could inactivate human coronaviruses.

While mouthwashes and oral rinses are certainly not going to effective as a treatment against Coronavirus infections, the fact is that “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”

The tests were done to study the potential of slowing down the transmission of Coronaviruses. As the most common entry point of the viruses is through the mouth, and nose, the inactivation of viruses in the oral cavity would be a powerful addition to ways we keep ourselves safe from the pandemic.

The study, which were published in the Journal of Medical Virology, was done to examine how effective everyday rinses (including baby shampoo and over-the-counter mouthwashes) were at lowering the transmission and spread of the human corona virus. 

The Study to Inactivate Human Coronavirus Using Everyday Products

The design of the test was “to replicate the interaction of the virus in the nasal and oral cavities with the rinses and mouthwashes.”

This was done by taking strains of human coronavirus and then putting them in contact with “baby shampoo solutions, various peroxide antiseptic rinses and various brands of mouthwash.”

Then, in order to determine the extent to which the viruses were inactivated “the researchers placed the diluted solutions in contact with cultured human cells. They counted how many cells remained alive after a few days of exposure to the viral solution and used that number to calculate the amount of human coronavirus that was inactivated as a result of exposure to the mouthwash or oral rinse that was tested.”

To be clear, they did not test the specific COVID 19 strain but the other corona strains are close enough genetically that the results could be considered as substantially true.

Neither were human volunteers used in the study, but the coronaviruses were grown in human cells first, then subjected to contact with the various oral rinses.

Results on the Effect of Mouthwashes and Oral Rinses to Inactivate Human Coronaviruses

The study found that these everyday items were very effective. For example, a 1% baby shampoo solution inactivated 99.9% of the coronaviruses after a 2-minute contact time. Many of the OTC mouthwashes, and a peroxide rinse, were equally effective, inactivating 99.9% of the viruses after only a 30-second contact time.

It is important to understand that the use of oral rinses and mouthwashes would only be to help prevent the transmission of human coronaviruses and NOT for actual treatment.

The leading researcher, Craig Meyers, pointed out that test results showed that the use of these products could reduce the number of viruses in the oral cavity and so be of potential help in reducing the virus’s spread.

Craig Meyers stated, “While we wait for a vaccine to be developed, methods to reduce transmission are needed. The products we tested are readily available and often already part of people’s daily routines.”

Other studies have supported these findings as well. These include:


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