Monday 1 February 2021

Use of mouthwashes and coronavirus


Although there is much evidence to suggest that a mouth rinse significantly reduces the bacterial count in aerosols, viral efficacy has received little attention. But a recent study has examined the virucidal efficacy of a number of mouth rinses against SARS-CoV-2. The study was undertaken under laboratory conditions, designed to simulate real-life conditions events of virus containing nasopharyngeal secretions. The researchers found that several mouth wash formulations, including one containing octenidine, showed significant SARS-CoV-2 inactivating properties under these test conditions. They concluded ‘that oral rinsing might reduce the viral load of saliva and could thus lower the transmission of SARS-CoV-2.’

Tim Sandle has written two articles on the subject. The first is:

Oral rinsing with a suitable mouth wash could be adopted in hospitals as an additional precaution against the transmission of the COVID-19 virus. Particularly as they have the potential to reduce the viral load in a patient who could be an asymptomatic or pre-symptomatic carrier.

The reference is:

Sandle, T. (2020) COVID-19 and the role of mouth rinses, Hospital Hub, 15, pp12-14 At:

The second article considers pre-procedural mouth rinses in the COVID-19 era.

A mouth rinse may not offer sufficient protection if it reduces the viral load only when it comes in contact with the virus in the mouth, without being able to maintain a low viral load after it is expectorated. Therefore, a mouth rinse with persistent activity to maintain low viral loads in the mouth for a period of time is advantageous. A suitable mouth wash is octenidine.

The reference is:

Sandle, T. (2020) Significant help, Dental Nursing, 16 (10): 507 

Posted by Dr. Tim Sandle, Pharmaceutical Microbiology Resources (

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