Mouthwash may protect you from Covid: Infected patients with poor oral health are more likely to become severely ill, study claims

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  • Dr says use of mouthwash can ‘prevent’ or ‘reduce severity’ of covid infection
  • The findings were based on a study of 86 covid patients who also had heart disease
  • Patients with good oral health had less severe symptoms and recovered faster

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Another study has suggested that mouthwash every morning can help protect you from covid.

Egyptian researchers found that people with poor oral health were more likely to have severe symptoms if they caught the virus.

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It is the latest in a long line of studies that have linked poor oral hygiene to increased risk of COVID, prompting the public to take better care of their teeth.

The scientists behind the study claimed that the mouth may act as a reservoir for the virus, allowing infected patients a higher ‘viral load’ – particles that circulate through the body.

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Generally, the more viruses someone has in their body, the more likely they are to become seriously ill.

This is the latest research to uncover mouthwash as a potential tool to help kill COVID-19.

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 have spread through the blood after infecting their gums.

Can the use of mouthwash prevent or reduce the severity of covid infection? A team of cardiologists said that new research indicates that maintaining good oral hygiene helped COVID patients reduce their symptoms and recover from the virus faster.

Experts from Cairo University tested the theory on a group of 86 COVID patients suffering from heart disease.

Medics assessed patients’ oral hygiene and the severity of their symptoms.

The results showed that patients with better oral hygiene had mild symptoms of COVID and had less inflammation.

How can mouthwash fight COVID-19?

Coronaviruses belong to the class of ‘envelope viruses’, which means they are covered with a fatty layer that is sensitive to certain chemicals.

Studies have suggested that agents found in mouthwashes – such as small amounts of ethanol – can disrupt the membranes of other lipid viruses in the same way as UV rays.

For example, researchers say iodine mouthwashes have been shown to be effective against SARS and MERS, two diseases caused by similar coronaviruses.

In April, a team of researchers that included NHS doctors claimed that brushing your teeth properly could reduce your risk of falling seriously ill with the coronavirus.

He said that ‘simple oral hygiene’ such as brushing teeth twice a day for at least two minutes and using mouthwash after meals can reduce the risk of severe COVID.

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According to the researchers, those who have not yet published their full findings also recovered quickly.

Study author Dr Ahmed Mustafa Basuoni said that using mouthwash can help people avoid covid altogether and have mild symptoms if they do catch the virus.

He added that other good oral health habits such as toothbrushing and regular dental visits can help ‘prevent or reduce the severity of Covid’.

Basuoni said: ‘Oral tissue can act as a reservoir for SARS-CoV-2, causing a high viral load to develop in the oral cavity.

‘Therefore, we recommended maintenance of oral health and improvement of oral hygiene measures, especially during the COVID transition.’

The study was presented at a meeting of the American College of Cardiology Middle East 2021.

The researchers did not speculate as to why poor oral hygiene might 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 a number of conditions such as heart disease and diabetes – both of which are known to make patients more vulnerable to the coronavirus.

This latest study is not the first to claim that mouthwash can help people avoid a serious COVID infection.

Experts believe that substances found in mouthwash disrupt the fatty (lipid) membrane surrounding the virus, impeding its ability to infect people.

Last November, researchers at Cardiff University found that mouthwashes containing cetpyridinium chloride kill the virus within 30 seconds.

However, both the World Health Organization and mouthwash manufacturers such as Listerine have underestimated these studies.

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