While toothpaste is the staple product of good dental hygiene, mouthwash could offer benefits that translate beyond your mouth.
A dentist has made a compelling case for adding this dental product to your regimen this autumn and winter.
With Covid cases on the rise, the liquid could kill the virus as long as you reach for the right one.
Coronavirus, or Covid, is triggered by a virus called SARS-CoV-2 that doesn’t only target your respiratory tract but also the cells in the lining of your mouth.
This is where mouthwash steps in with its “antiviral effect” on the Covid virus.
Dr Parneet Sehmi of Hermes London Dental Clinic, told Express.co.uk: “Mouthwash typically contains various active ingredients, such as alcohol, hydrogen peroxide, and essential oils, which can help keep your teeth clean as well as disinfect your mouth by lowering the risk of bacteria.
“Mouthwash can help lower the viral load in the mouth and throat, which may reduce the risk of spreading the virus to others if you are infected.”
Don’t just take the doctor’s word for it, as a study, published in the journal Scientific Reports, found that mouthwash could suppress the virus that causes Covid within “minutes” after use.
Looking at Japanese mouthwashes, the research team studied the effects on cell cultures that express a protein, which is required for the Covid virus to enter into the cell.
Within 10 minutes of use, the oral health product was able to inhibit the infectivity and capability for cell entry of the virus.
However, the researchers noted that only mouthwashes with cetylpyridinium chloride offered this effect.
As cetylpyridinium chloride seems to be key when it comes to the protection against Covid, mouthwashes without this ingredient might not offer the same benefits.
Sehmi said: “Different mouthwashes may have varying effectiveness against viruses, but it’s important to choose one that is safe and effective for your overall oral health.”
The dentist added that it’s also worth looking for a product with fluoride or hydrogen peroxide, as this can help prevent tooth decay and lower the risk of bacteria.
Another thing you need to consider is proper use. Sehmi said: “I recommend using mouthwash twice a day alongside your daily teeth-cleaning routine.
“However, it is crucial that you avoid using mouthwash straight after you have brushed your teeth, as this will remove the fluoride remaining on your teeth.”
While mouthwash could kill the virus in your mouth, it is not a substitute for other preventative measures recommended by health authorities and should not be relied upon as the “sole means of protection”, the doctor added.