At Dakota Dental, our goal is to help patients receive all the up-to-date information they need to make educated decisions about their oral health and wellness. In a previous blog post, we shared how our team is working together to protect patients and hygienists against the spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19), as well as what you can expect during your next visit to our wellness center.
Today, we wanted to address some common questions patients have asked us about whether certain hygienic practices, such as using mouthwash regularly, can help prevent diseases like COVID-19.
Does Mouthwash Kill the Coronavirus?
The bacteria in your mouth can be associated with many comorbidities of human disease. And if left untreated, it can also weaken your immune system. This is why visiting your Dakota dentists regularly is essential to the ongoing support of your overall health, as is maintaining healthy habits at home (i.e. brushing teeth, flossing, using mouthwash, etc.).
To date, there is no known evidence to support the claim that mouthwash can help prevent the spread of COVID-19. Listerine, the only over-the-counter mouthwash to carry the ADA seal of acceptance, confirms that the daily use of their product “…has not been tested against the coronavirus and is not intended to prevent or treat COVID-19.”
Nevertheless, rinsing with mouthwash twice a day has been proven to help kill certain bacteria, remove plaque, reduce tartar buildup, and kill germs, which can help prevent other diseases from developing (i.e. gingivitis). Therefore, its regular use is essential to your oral health care.
In addition to using mouthwash to protect your gums and teeth, there are other ways to keep your mouth extra clean and help strengthen your immune system against disease:
- Brush and Floss Regularly: You know this tip well, but the truth is most people forget to floss or don’t floss their teeth properly every day. Remember, poor oral hygiene can leave you vulnerable to infection and other serious diseases: “An unhealthy mouth, especially if you have gum disease, may increase your risk of serious health problems such as heart attack, stroke, poorly controlled diabetes and preterm labor,” (Colgate Professional).
- Wash Your Hands before You Brush Your Teeth: According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, a common way to spread COVID-19 is by touching your nose, eyes, or mouth. Therefore, remember to always wash your hands for at least 20 seconds before brushing your teeth in the morning and at night.
- Sanitize Your Toothbrush: If your toothbrush sits in a holder with other toothbrushes used by family members, you might decide to disinfect your toothbrush by letting it soak in mouthwash for 15 minutes. And though you should replace your toothbrush head every 3-4 months, if someone in your home is sick, you may decide to replace your toothbrush more frequently or use disposable brushes instead.
- Stop Sharing Toothbrushes: If you’re spending time at a family member’s house to take care of a loved one, or you’re overdue to change your toothbrush’s head, remember to never share your toothbrush with others or use someone else’s. COVID-19, as well as other viruses, can be easily spread from person to person through respiratory droplets. Remember to use your own and encourage others to do the same.
- Visit Your Dentist: Preventative dental care ensures our team can help protect you against gum disease and infections that may lead to other serious health issues. Regular cleanings also allow us to identify any areas of concern early on, so you avoid costly dental treatments or serious risks to your health.
Keep Your Teeth Clean and Your Mouth Happy
If you have more questions about your oral health or have questions about our new policies and protocols, please reach out to your Dakota Dental team today! To make an appointment, please call us directly at (952)431-5774.