PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Can mouthwash fight coronavirus?
“The short answer, in a test tube, yes. In the human body, no,” says Dr. Randolph Peters of Allegheny Health Network family medicine.
In a study in the Journal of Medical Virology, researchers tested different nose and mouth rinses on a plate of cells infected with an ordinary coronavirus. Turns out, a 1 percent baby shampoo nasal rinse can inactivate the virus after two minutes; with antiseptic mouthwash, 30 seconds.
But they did not test these solutions against the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19.
The inactivation comes about when the active ingredients in these swishes and sprays disrupt the membrane around the virus — so it is possible.
“There might be some theoretical, minuscule benefit,” says Dr. Peters. “In terms of the disease itself and stopping the transmission, it’s interesting information, but it’s not useful at this point.”
The big caveat — a smooth dish in a laboratory is not your mouth with its nooks and crannies. Or even your nose, a direct doorway into your respiratory tract.
“It’s a starting point to look at possibilities for what you might want to do future research on,” Dr. Peters says.
His advice? Use these products as directed but not for coronavirus.
“Baby shampoo is wonderful for shampooing babies. Mouthwash, we should all use it. If you have someone who’s inside your social distance bubble, they will greatly appreciate your use of mouthwash. And I would highly encourage it,” Dr. Peters said.
“Wear a mask, keep your distance, wash your hands, stay home when you’re sick,” the doctor said.
A July study from Germany in the Journal of Infectious Diseases showed oral rinses with hydrogen peroxide, alcohol, chlorhexidine and other disinfectants did inactivate the novel coronavirus, the one that causes coronavirus. But again, in a lab, not a mouth.