- Poor hygiene could be a risk factor for COVID-19 complications
- Oral cavity plays a vital role in the transmission of COVID virus from an entry point to the lungs
- Simple oral hygiene practices can reduce the chances of COVID-19 severity
Simple oral hygiene measures could reduce the risk of coronavirus transmission from the mouth to the lungs and help prevent the instances of COVID-19, according to a study published in the Journal of Oral Medicine and Dental Research.
The findings of the research suggest that specific ingredients of widely available mouthwash products are highly effective at inactivating the SARS-CoV-2 virus
Link between Gum Disease and COVID-19 SeverityCompared to a healthy oral cavity, people with gum disease have an increased presence of bacterial pathogens. The COVID virus evades the oral immune response, and penetrates the blood vessels and reaches the lungs, especially among people suffering from gum disease (periodontitis).
Dental plaque accumulation and periodontal inflammation could further intensify the likelihood of the COVID virus reaching the lungs and causing more severe cases of infection.
"This model may help us understand why some individuals develop COVID-19 lung disease and others do not. It could also change the way we manage the virus -- exploring cheap or even free treatments targeted at the mouth and, ultimately, saving lives," said study co-author Iain Chapple, Professor at the University of Birmingham in the UK.
Simple oral hygiene measures - such as toothbrushing, mouthwashes, or saltwater rinsing help reduce gum inflammation, thereby decreasing the viral concentration in salvia.
Dentists recommend that people who have recently recovered from COVID-19 should immediately change their toothbrush and tongue cleaner upon recovery to protect them from chances of re-infection.
Tips for Good Oral Hygiene
- Brush twice daily with a fluoridated toothpaste
- Inter dental brush and dental floss can be used to reduce the plaque accumulation
- Antibacterial mouthwash to prevent gum disease
- Less intake of acidic food products
- Regular visit to a dentist for once in 6 months
- Lloyd-Jones G, Molayem S, Pontes CC, Chapple I. (2021) The COVID-19 Pathway: A Proposed Oral-Vascular-Pulmonary Route of SARS-CoV-2 Infection and the Importance of Oral Healthcare Measures. J Oral Med and Dent Res. 2(1):1-25.
- Brian Z, Weintraub JA. Oral Health and COVID-19: Increasing the Need for Prevention and Access. [Erratum appears in Prev Chronic Dis 2020;17. http://www.cdc.gov/pcd/issues/2020/20_0266e.htm.] Prev Chronic Dis 2020;17:200266.
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