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Frequent brushing can protect against COVID-19: a doctor's opinion

Brushing your teeth before you leave the house “can help prevent Covid-19,” because the toothpaste contains the same antibacterial properties as hand gel, the expert said. Brushing your teeth before you leave your home can help prevent Covid-19, the dentist professor said. Writes about it The Daily Mail.

Photo: Shutterstock

Professor Martin Addy of the University of Bristol claims that toothpaste contains the same chemicals as antibacterial hand gel.

He notes that it can kill the coronavirus if it gets through the mouth, preventing it from multiplying and causing illness. So, according to the professor, it is possible to partially protect others by reducing the viral load in the mouth, which, as studies have shown, affects the level of human infectiousness.

The transmission of coronavirus from person to person occurs mainly by airborne droplets when coughing or sneezing. But the virus causes infection not only by entering the body through the mouth - it can enter the body through the nose and eyes, doctors say.

Professor Addy argues that people should brush their teeth every time they leave the house, for example, when they are going shopping or playing sports. He urged the government to encourage the population to brush their teeth more often in the same way as the authorities recommend wearing a mask and washing their hands.

He also suggested mouthwash to remove viral particles and prevent the spread of the virus.

Speaking to The Telegraph, Professor Addy said: “Toothpaste contains the same substances as hand gels. The antimicrobial effect of toothpaste in the mouth lasts for three to five hours and thus reduces the viral load in saliva or the risk of getting viruses in the mouth. "

He added: “The focus should be on the timing of brushing your teeth, this should be done when people are about to leave the house to exercise or shop. Ideally, you should increase the frequency of brushing your teeth. "

Professor Addy said the antibacterial substances in the toothpaste can help eliminate the coronavirus if it is ingested. In theory, this will reduce the likelihood of getting sick, but this has not been proven.

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Members of the Oxford Covid-19 Evidence Service Group said in March: “The initial dose of the virus and the amount of virus a person received at one time could aggravate the severity of Covid-19. The degree of exposure to the virus at the onset of infection can increase the severity of the disease and is also associated with a higher viral load [in infected patients].

This is not the first time that Professor Addy has pushed the idea of ​​brushing your teeth more often to reduce the risk of Covid-19. In a letter to the British Dental Journal in April, he expressed surprise that dentists are not promoting brushing as a preventive measure against coronavirus.

He wrote: “Based on my own knowledge and the opinions of experts, the main source of drops is saliva. Therefore, I am somewhat surprised that our profession does not promote oral hygiene with toothpaste in a preventive approach to Covid-19. Most, if not all, toothpastes contain detergents that give the product significant antimicrobial properties, indeed, the same detergents are present in many of the handwashing formulations recommended against the coronavirus. ”

He said the government should encourage everyone to brush their teeth for two minutes twice a day. But many people at greater risk of contracting Covid-19 do not. The expert did not go into details about what chemicals in the toothpaste might protect against the coronavirus.

Triclosan is an antibacterial agent that is commonly added to toothpastes to prevent plaque build-up. Most antibacterial liquid soaps contain triclosan, although other chemical additives are common. Triclosan is a controversial chemical that was banned by the FDA in 2016 due to insufficient data on its effectiveness and long-term health effects.

Professor Addy also raised the idea of ​​more frequent use of mouthwash to protect against Covid-19. He offered chlorhexidine products precisely because of their "antiviral effects." But he admitted that there is little research to support their effectiveness against the coronavirus.

A study by researchers from the Korea University College of Medicine in Seoul showed that SARS-CoV-2 was suppressed within two hours of chlorhexidine administration, suggesting that the substance could reduce the risk of Covid-19 transmission. They concluded, "Chlorhexidine mouthwash is effective in reducing the SARS-CoV-2 viral load in saliva for a short period."

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The particles of the coronavirus are covered with a fatty membrane that protects the genetic material inside. It can be destroyed with antibacterial gel and soap, but not necessarily with a mouthwash. In February, the World Health Organization denied the idea that mouthwash was protective. The study found that some mouthwashes can only eliminate certain germs from the saliva in your mouth for a few minutes.

“However, this does not mean that they protect you from 2019-nCoV infection,” the WHO said even before the coronavirus infection was officially named Covid-19.

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