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Mouthwash may have potential to reduce COVID-19 spread

New studies have shown that mouthwash could help slow the spread of coronavirus, but it is still not a cure.

ARIZONA, USA — A new study shows mouthwash may help slow the spread of coronavirus.

It’s not a cure, but that minty rinse in your medicine cabinet could help keep you and your family safe.

"We’re in people’s mouths all the time, so we’re taking steps that are obviously helping to prevent that transmission,” said Dr. Jennifer Enos, president of the Arizona Dental Association.

She says mouthwash can help.

“After COVID became a common household word, there was research coming out that having our patients rinse with a mouthwash before we treated them, would reduce the amount of viral load in their mouth, therefore, reducing our exposure to it,” she said.

Enos says mouthwash reduces the amount of virus in your mouth pretty immediately.

“It does work,” she said.

A recent study in the Journal of Medical Virology finds a few oral antiseptics may have the ability to inactivate coronavirus when people are talking, sneezing or coughing, but there are limitations.

“It’s not going to necessarily kill all of the virus, but it is going to reduce the amount of it,” said Enos.

They don’t know how long it’s effective.

“It might be five minutes, it might be 15 minutes, it might be an hour,” she said.
And it’s not something you can use to prevent contracting COVID-19.

“It would be helping you from passing it on to somebody else,” she added. 

The research also shows several nasal and oral rinses have a strong ability to neutralize coronavirus and may help stop the spread, but experts need more research.

Enos says hydrogen peroxide-based mouthwashes, iodine mouthwashes and Listerine are potentially the most effective, but again, not a cure.