Using commercially available mouthwash could reduce the chance of spreading the deadly coronavirus, according to a study published Monday.
Researchers from German University Ruhr-Universität Bochum, along with others, found that certain mouthwashes could potentially reduce high viral loads of COVID-19 in the mouth and throat by deactivating the virus.
The researchers warned that the study did not mean that mouthwash was an effective treatment of COVID-19, but suggested mouthwash could have some potential medical uses.
“Gargling with a mouthwash cannot inhibit the production of viruses in the cells,” said Toni Meister, the team lead in the study, in a statement.
“But [mouthwash] could reduce the viral load in the short term where the greatest potential for infection comes from, namely in the oral cavity and throat – and this could be useful in certain situations, such as at the dentist or during the medical care of COVID-19 patients,” he added.
The researchers used eight mouthwashes with different ingredients available in pharmacies and drugstores in Germany in a simulated environment for their study. While all of the mouthwashes in the study were effective in lowering the amount of coronavirus, three were so effective that the virus could no longer be detected.
This finding in particular warrants further study, the scientists said, with the possibility of a clinical study to find how long the mouthwash effect on the coronavirus might last in real COVID-19 patients.