Swilling mouthwash every morning could help to protect you against Covid, another study has suggested.
Egyptian researchers found people with poor oral health were more likely to suffer severe symptoms if they caught the virus.
It is the latest in a long line of studies which have linked bad oral hygiene to Covid risk, prompting pleas for the public to take better care of their teeth.
Scientists behind the study claimed the mouth may act as a reservoir for the virus, allowing infected patients to have a high ‘viral load’ — particles circulating through the body.
Typically, the more virus someone has in their body, the more likely they are to become severely ill.
It is the latest piece of research to highlight mouthwash as a potential tool to help kill off Covid.
Normally, Covid enters through the throat or nose where it multiplies and makes its way through the respiratory system to the lungs. But some experts have speculated that the virus may spread into the blood after infecting their gums.
Could using mouthwash help prevent or reduce the severity of a Covid infection? A team of cardiologists said new research indicates that maintaining good oral hygiene helped Covid patients reduce their symptoms and recover quicker from the virus
Cairo University experts tested the theory on a group of 86 Covid patients suffering from heart disease.
Medics assessed the patients’ oral hygiene and the severity of their symptoms.
Results showed patients with better oral hygiene had milder Covid symptoms and less inflammation in their bodies.
HOW COULD MOUTHWASH FIGHT COVID-19?
Coronaviruses belong to the class of ‘enveloped viruses’, meaning they are covered by a fatty layer that is vulnerable to certain chemicals.
Studies have suggested agents found in mouthwash – such as low amounts of ethanol – could disrupt the membranes of other lipid viruses, in the same way as UV rays.
For instance, researchers say iodine mouthwashes have proved effective against SARS and MERS, two diseases caused by similar coronaviruses.
In April, a team of researchers which included NHS doctors claimed that brushing your teeth thoroughly could lower the risk of falling seriously ill with coronavirus.
They said ‘simple oral hygiene’ such as brushing teeth twice a day for at least two minutes and using mouthwash after meals could cut the risk of severe Covid.
They also recovered quicker, according to the researchers who have yet to publish their full findings.
Study author Dr Ahmed Mustafa Basuoni said using mouthwash could help people avoid Covid entirely and have milder symptoms if they caught the virus.
He added that other good oral health habits such as toothbrushing and regular dental visits in ‘preventing or decreasing the severity of Covid’.
Dr Basuoni said: ‘Oral tissues could act as a reservoir for SARS-CoV-2, developing a high viral load in the oral cavity.
‘Therefore, we recommended maintenance of oral health and improving oral hygiene measures, especially during Covid infection.’
The study was presented at a meeting of the American College of Cardiology Middle East 2021.
The researchers did not speculate why poor oral hygiene may lead to a more severe bout of the disease.
But dozens of studies have shown people with good oral hygiene generally take better care of themselves, and are healthier overall.
For example, gum disease has been linked to range of conditions such as heart disease and diabetes — both of which are known to leave patients more vulnerable to coronavirus.
This latest study is not the first to find claim that mouthwash could help people avoid a serious Covid infection.
Experts believe substances found in mouthwash disrupt the fatty (lipid) membrane surrounding the virus, inhibiting its ability to infect people.
Last November researchers from Cardiff University found mouthwashes containing cetypyridinium chloride killed the virus within 30 seconds.
However, both the World Health Organization and, mouthwash manufactures such as Listerine, have downplayed these studies.
Source: Health & wellbeing | The Guardian