During the COVID-19 pandemic, people everywhere are taking all the precautions they can to keep themselves and their families safe. Good hand hygiene, social distancing, and using face masks are the “pillars” of staying healthy right now, but keeping your mouth clean is also important. In addition to seeing a dentist for a checkup and cleaning when they reopen for routine care, good habits at home are crucial for reducing the number of germs in your mouth. Keep reading to find out why mouthwash is a great addition to your oral hygiene routine and if it can lower your risk of COVID-19!
Can Mouthwash Lower Your Risk of COVID-19?
Experts agree that the measures mentioned above, including self-isolating, frequent and thorough handwashing, and face masks are the most effective ways to prevent the spread of the virus. But a study has recently been done that suggests that antiseptic mouthwash may “damage” the virus in a way that makes it harmless.
With that said, researchers have stated that more studies are needed before conclusions can be made. While mouthwash certainly can’t hurt (and may actually help), it should not be considered as an alternative to wearing face masks.
How Does Mouthwash Benefit Your Dental Health?
There are several different types of mouthwash on the market, including fluoride (anti-cavity), antiseptic formulas, and all-in-one options. While it should never be used in place of brushing and flossing, it’s a great addition that can help you prevent the following:
- Cavities – Similar to the way calcium strengthens your bones, fluoride is a mineral that strengthens your enamel and makes it more resistant to cavities. Make sure not to rinse with water after using a fluoride mouthwash.
- Gingivitis – Bleeding, swollen, or tender gums are all signs of gingivitis (which means inflamed gums). An antiseptic mouthwash that kills bacteria and other germs will help keep your gum tissue clean and healthy.
- Bad breath – Bad breath is caused by bacteria, and nearly everyone has it at some point. An antiseptic or antibacterial formula will not only treat gingivitis but also kill odor-causing bacteria as well.
More research is needed to determine how effective mouthwash is at killing the COVID-19 virus. But since there’s a possibility that it may be helpful, and it has so many additional benefits for your teeth and gums, there’s no reason not to use it!
About the Author
Dr. Bernard Florento is a family dentist with 30 years of experience who is committed to keeping his patients, staff and their families safe and healthy during the COVID-19 pandemic. He encourages everyone to practice good oral hygiene to maintain their dental health as well as potentially lower their risk of getting sick. If you’d like to know more about your oral hygiene or have any questions, he can be reached via his website.