Mouthwash kills COVID-19. Is this fact or fiction?  If so, do all mouthwashes have the capability to do so?

Numerous practical uses have been attributed to mouthwashes.  However, is it possible that something as simple as a mouthwash can kill COVID-19?

The answer is both yes and no according to one expert.  However, before we try to explain, Dentistry for Children issues a “caution and warning.”

Do Not Give Mouthwash to Children under 6

New Developments in Mouthwash Research Could Strengthen the Value We Place on Rinsing.

Children of All Ages Need to Understand the Value of Brushing, Flossing, and Rinsing.

Why does Dentistry For Children issues this caution?  The reason is simple.  Young children (6 years of age and younger) could accidentally swallow it, resulting in serious dental problems.

The American Dental Association (ADA) agrees.  They state, ” Children younger than six years old shouldn’t use mouthwashes that contain fluoride.  This is because very young children may swallow the rinse (mouthwash) and ingest too much of this special additive.” They go even further.  Children under 6 shouldn’t use mouthwash unless their dentist advises.

It’s true that small amounts of fluoride can help to keep teeth strong and cavity-free.

“Mouth Healthy puts it this way:  “There’s an epic battle between good and evil raging in your mouth right now”… And there’s “only one superhero who can save your teeth from cavities. It’s not a bird, and it’s not a plane. It’s fluoride!”

However, “Dentistry For Children” warns you that  large amounts can actually damage young teeth.

Two Other Cautions for the Young Using Mouthwash

Colgate added 2 other suggestions for small children:

1.  Don’t use mouthwashes that contain alcohol.  It is added in some to kill bacteria that like to make a nest along the gum line. The amount of alcohol may not be harmful to adults. However, it’s “counterproductive to a growing body.”

2.  Be sure to supervise children using mouthwash up to the age of 12.  This is important for a couple of reasons:

First, you need to be sure your child doesn’t swallow the mouthwash.

The 2nd reason is that it “keeps them honest.” By that, we mean they aren’t skipping the brushing and flossing.  Instead of brushing, they might be using  mouthwash to fool you.

Now, Back to Mouthwash:  Facts and Myth’s

All Children Under the Age of 12 Should Be Supervised When Using Mouthwash.

Kissing Sweet: But Mouthwash is Not For Children Under Six.

Dentist For Children hopes to answer some of the facts as well as myths concerning recent mysterious claims that “Mouthwash Kills COVID”  We set-up a question and answer format in order to answer some of your questions.

Before the question-answers, Here is a little background on mouthwashes in general.

A Little Back Ground of Mouthwash

When you think of mouthwash, you probably think of bad breath (halitosis) or simply making your mouth feel fresh.

And it’s true. Manufacturers and scientists design mouthwashes for specific purposes.  However, they are designed to solve different problems. Some are designed to:

  • Mask or eliminate bad breath.
  • Deal with sensitive gums, gingivitis, plaque, or cavities.
  • Reduce tooth decay… “Fluoride ions”… “may be provided by certain mouthwashes. A Cochrane systematic review found that regular use of fluoride mouthwash reduced tooth decay in children.    Some may contain fluoride and help to strengthen your teeth.
  • Mouthwashes that offer pain relief most commonly contain topical local anesthetics such as lidocaine.

Thus, each mouthwash has different ingredients in order to fulfill its specific purpose. The reason that we mention this is that new developments in mouthwash also contain specific ingredients that claim to fight the COVID virus.

New Fight Against COVID-19

Scientists have been busy. Research and studies have been conducted by Colgate-Palmolive. The results suggest “certain oral care products may play a role in temporarily reducing the amount of SARS-CoV-2.”

As you are probably aware, this is the virus that causes COVID-19.  The virus most commonly enters the body through your nasal passages or mouth.

Laboratory Mouthwash Test Results Vs. the Pandemic

These tests revealed results for both toothpaste and mouth wash.  Recent studies by the Colgate-Palmolive Co. indicate  that “certain oral care products may play a role in temporarily reducing the amount of SARS-CoV-2.”

Tests discovered that “specific kinds of toothpaste with zinc, stannous fluoride, or amine fluoride” neutralized the virus by more than 99%.

The same was true for mouthwashes with these ingredients:

  • Cetylpyridinium chloride (CPC).
  • Hydrogen peroxide chlorhexidine, or Stannous fluoride/amine fluoride.

Indications were that the above toothpaste and mouthwashes “neutralized the virus by more than 99%.”

The tests also revealed that “specific kinds of mouthwash significantly reduced the amount of virus in the mouth for up to 60 minutes after rinsing.”

What Do Mouthwash Testing Results Mean to Your Family?

With these results in mind, there has been much speculation concerning these oral mouth rinses. Colgate-Palmolive researchers state that further studies need to be pursued to discover the actual applications with potential consumers.

Keep reading for answers to some of the most frequently asked questions.

Frequently Asked Questions and Our Best Answers

Question Number 1:

Wait. Don’t Introduce Mouthwash to Children Under the Age of Six. They Don’t Have the Skills to Rinse, Gargle, and Spit.

Can these mouthwashes be used by younger children?

Answer:  No.  As stated previously, the ADA warns that children under the age of 6 should not use any mouthwash of any kind unless your dentist advises.  Additionally, all children should be supervised up to the age of 12.

Question Number 2

Can toothpaste or mouthwash reduce COVID-19 infections once the virus has entered the lungs?

The answer is a definite No.  Some mouthwashes and toothpaste were said to Kill or neutralize “SARS-COV-2 in a laboratory test by 99% and more.” These were viruses that were harbored in the “mouth or nasal passages.”

Furthermore, reduction of the virus was said to last up to 60 minutes.  SARS-CoV-2, according to WebMD, “is the strain of coronavirus that causes the COVID-19.”

Once COVID-19 has reached the lungs, it has already begun rapidly repopulating and spreading throughout the body.

Question Number 3

Can oral care products protect me from contracting or transmitting COVID-19?

Answer:  No. If the virus that causes COVID-19 is detected in your mouth, then you have already been infected. There is currently no evidence that the use of oral care products can prevent you from getting the virus.

Additional studies are necessary to determine whether lowering the amount of the virus in saliva — which can be transmitted through talking, singing, or coughing — might help reduce the risk of transmission to others.

Question Number 4

Can oral care products make my COVID-19 symptoms less severe or help me recover more quickly?

Answer:  No, there is no evidence that the use of oral care products can make your COVID-19 symptoms less severe or help you recover more quickly. Many factors contribute to the length and severity of COVID-19 recovery. The strength of your immune system is one additional factor.

Question Number 5

Now for the $64,000,000 Question:  Can any mouth wash kill COVID-19?

Answer:  Yes and No.  Technically, the right mouthwash can kill COVID in your mouth. Unfortunately by then, it’s too late. It’s already in your lungs.

Additionally, researchers from Colgate-Palmolive issued this disclaimer.  “… There is no evidence that the tested products can prevent, treat, or cure COVID-19 or alleviate its symptoms, and the products are not intended to be used for these purposes.”

Mouthwash Research Take-Aways

Several reports suggested mouth rinses “could” or “might” be effective. However, scientists say there’s not enough applicable evidence.

We at Dentistry for Children are both encouraged and disappointed in this latest research.

  • On one hand, hopes are always high.  We hope that a new treatment can help us avoid the disease completely or at least make the patient’s recovery from COVID-19 easier.
  • On the other hand, there is a sense of success in eliminating viruses from the mouth and nasal passages if only for the fleeting 60 seconds.

The application for this brief success is limited at the moment. However, research continues. Who knows what new powers scientists will ultimately discover in mouthwash?

Show Your Teeth Some Love! Brush, Floss, and Use Mouthwash Regularly.

In the meantime, the standard CDC Covid-19 precautions are our best defense until we reach maximum Immunization:

  • “Wear a mask to protect yourself and others and stop the spread of COVID-19.
  • Stay at least 6 feet from others who don’t live with you.
  • Avoid crowds. The more people you are in contact with, the more likely you are to be exposed to COVID-19.”  Stay Safe. Be Well.