We continue to learn more as the pandemic continues, which is great. However, it is important to understand that things will continue to change as we learn more. Remaining up-to-date is key, but know that guidance and studies will continue to evolve. Recently, a study conducted at Penn State College of Medicine found that mouthwash and oral rinses may inactivate human coronaviruses. 

What the study found

Researchers tested different oral and nasopharyngeal rinses. These included a 1% solution of baby shampoo, a neti pot, peroxide sore-mouth cleansers and mouthwashes. Looking at these rinses, researchers wanted to determine how well they inactivated human coronaviruses, such as the virus that causes the common cold. 

The baby shampoo solution was actually effective because it inactivated more than 99.9% of the human coronavirus after a two-minute contact time. When looking at mouthwashes and oral rinses, such as Listerine Antiseptic, Orajel Antiseptic Rinse and Crest Pro-Health, the researchers found that many inactivated more than 99.9% of the virus after only 30 seconds of contact time. Others inactivated 99.9% of the virus after more than 30 seconds. 

Additionally, researchers used a test to replicate the interaction of the virus in the nasal and oral cavities with the rinses and mouthwashes. While the researchers did not specifically test SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, it is genetically similar to other human coronaviruses tested. This led researchers to hypothesize that the results could be similar. 

While we are not saying that mouthwashes and oral rinses can cure COVID-19, it is a step in the right direction for maintaining cleanliness and being cautious. Continue to practice physical distancing, wear a mask and stay home as much as possible.