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A 2021 study found that two types of mouthwash, Listerine and prescription mouthwash Chlorhexidine, disrupted the COVID-19 virus within seconds of use in laboratory conditions.1 However, more evidence is necessary to confirm mouthwash can kill COVID-19 with regular daily use.
Moreover, these findings do not confirm mouthwash can reduce virus transmission, which Listerine corroborated.9
Research on how mouthwash affects COVID-19 is still developing. For now, scientists and medical professionals don’t consider antiseptic mouth rinses effective COVID-19 treatments.
The 2021 study from Rutgers School of Dental Medicine found four mouthwashes that disrupted the COVID-19 virus:
However, they found that only Listerine and Chlorhexidine did so without impacting the skin cells inside the mouth. These cells are an essential protective barrier, so significant skin cell death is dangerous.
While antiseptic mouthwashes may potentially help prevent the viral transmission of COVID-19, researchers need more information before they can confirm that.
Further studies from 2020 also found that certain mouthwashes may reduce the viral impact of COVID-19.
One found that Dequonal, Betadine, and Listerine could reduce viral activity by up to three orders of magnitude to background levels.2 Another found three oral rinses with hydrogen peroxide as an active ingredient could reduce COVID-19 by 90 to 99%.3
These mouthwashes are:
Despite promising findings, scientists urge the public not to rely on mouthwash to kill or reduce COVID-19 until more clinical evidence is gathered.
Scientists are actively researching whether nasal rinses can combat the viral load and transmission of COVID-19.
One study from Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine noted that the over-the-counter (OTC) saline nasal rinse (Neti Pot) had no effect on COVID-19 in the nasal cavity.
However, they found that a 1% baby shampoo nasal rinse solution could inactivate more than 99% of the novel coronavirus in the nasal passages. It inactivated over 99.9% of COVID-19 after 2 minutes of contact.3
Other studies show that an antiseptic nasal spray may effectively kill COVID-19 in as little as 15 seconds.7
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