A study published by the ADA found a 60-second mouth rinse can reduce SARS-CoV-2 viral loads for 45 minutes.

A study published in The Journal of the American Dental Association (JADA) found that mouth rinses can reduce the SARS-CoV-2 viral load in saliva. SARs-CoV-2 is the virus that leads to the disease COVID-19.

The purpose of the study was to see if requiring patients to rinse their mouths was an effective means of reducing the risk of infection for dental professionals.

The study looked at the viral load in the saliva of 201 people comparing levels in people with varying states of symptomatic detection. The study detected SARS-CoV-2 in 23% of asymptomatic, 28% of presymptomatic, 99% of symptomatic and 60% of post symptomatic participants.

“SARS-CoV-2 can be present in the saliva of asymptomatic and presymptomatic patients. Therefore, it is important for dental professionals to exercise optimal infection control protocols,” said Purnima Kumar, DDS., PhD, corresponding author and professor at the Ohio State University College of Dentistry. “Mouth rinsing for 60 seconds can reduce the salivary loads of SARS-CoV-2 for 45 minutes. Therefore, there is wisdom in using preprocedural mouthwashes for all patients.”

Researchers randomly assigned symptomatic participants to use a mouth rinse containing 15 milliliters of normal saline, 1% hydrogen peroxide, 0.12% chlorhexidine gluconate or 0.5% povidone-iodine. 

All four reduced the SARS-CoV-2 viral load in saliva, with a median reduction of 61%-89% at 15 minutes after rinsing and 70%-97% at 45 minutes. Neither the 15-minute reduction in viral load nor the persistence of reduction at 45 minutes differed among the rinses, but the extent of reduction correlated significantly with participants’ initial viral load.

The study was the cover story for JADA, titled Estimating Salivary Carriage of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 in Nonsymptomatic People and Efficacy of Mouthrinse in Reducing Viral Load.

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