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Can Using Mouthwash Stop the Spread of COVID-19?

April 2, 2020

Filed under: Uncategorized — drflenniken @ 6:08 pm
person pouring mouthwash into cup

Since the outbreak of COVID-19, you may have heard all sorts of rumors about how to “cure” the disease, one of which is by gargling or rinsing with mouthwash. While some of these rumors are just that – rumors – a few of them might have some truth to them. Can rinsing with mouthwash have some effect on the coronavirus? Keep reading today’s blog post to find out.

Can Rinsing with Mouthwash Kill the Coronavirus?

The answer isn’t actually all that simple. According to a video released by the American Dental Association, there has been no evidence that rinsing with mouthwash kills the coronavirus. However, they claim that there was a study in China that revealed a connection between using mouthwash and lower rates of COVID-19. It’s worth mentioning, though, that the mouthwash in China contains different chemical compounds than it does here in the United States. As a result, rinsing or gargling with Chinese mouthwash may affect the coronavirus, but the same can’t really be said for American mouthwash.

Should You Use Mouthwash Anyway?

Absolutely. While brushing and flossing are excellent ways of keeping your teeth and gums clean, they only clean a small portion of the soft tissues in your mouth. Because of this, bacteria from those soft tissues can deposit back on your teeth even after brushing, contributing to oral health problems like gum disease and tooth decay.

Keep in mind, though, that not all mouthwashes are created equal, and whichever one you should select will differ based on your individual dental needs. For example, if you have gum disease, you should buy a mouthwash designed specifically to fight plaque and bleeding gums. Some mouthwashes contain fluoride to strengthen enamel and reduce tooth sensitivity. Some are designed to remove stains from the surface of your teeth.

One thing to note is that you should never use a mouthwash that contains alcohol. Alcohol depletes your mouth’s supply of saliva. When your mouth doesn’t have enough saliva, leftover food particles don’t get washed away. They then attract dangerous bacteria that cause cavities.

Although rinsing and gargling with mouthwash might not be able to kill the coronavirus, it still comes with its own set of oral health benefits. For more advice on which kind of mouthwash would best benefit your unique smile, ask your dentist.

About the Author

Dr. Neil Flenniken is a dentist in Carlisle, PA who has almost 20 years of experience in cosmetic and implant dentistry. He is a Fellow of the Academy of General Dentistry and an Associate Fellow of the American Academy of Implant Dentistry. Due to COVID-19, his practice is currently only taking emergency patients. If you think you might have a dental emergency, such as a knocked-out tooth or a severe toothache that persists for several days, contact Flenniken Family Dentistry at (717) 249-7777.

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