Will mouthwashes kill coronavirus?

Charmaine Johnson-Leong Dentist Fort Lauderdale, FL

Dr. Charmaine Johnson-Leong is a Dentist practicing in Fort Lauderdale, FL. Dr. Johnson-Leong specializes in preventing, diagnosing, and treating diseases and conditions associated with the mouth and overall dental health. Dentists are trained to carry out such treatment as professional cleaning, restorative, prosthodontic,... more

I have had a few questions from patients as to what mouthwashes will help protect against the coronavirus.

At this point, there is no evidence that mouthwashes protect you from coronavirus. Some people are thinking that Listerine with alcohol will help. However, this is not true as the only 60% alcohol content will kill the virus. But please don’t rinse with alcohol or rubbing alcohol or any of those.

The other question from patients who have had gum disease is: does peridex, the prescription mouth rinse we use after a scaling work. There is no evidence that it works against viruses as it is designed to work against gum disease bacteria.

However, it appears from a recent study, that 1% hydrogen peroxide will reduce the salivary load of the coronavirus. The American Dental Association is recommending dentists have patients rinse with 1% hydrogen peroxide before we start the dental procedure on them.

One of the most encouraging aspects of the COVID-19 is that it is an enveloped virus. This means that it has a weak fatty envelope, which is easily broken down by most disinfectants.

Hydrogen peroxide easily attacks the envelope lining and destroys it by chemical action.

Thus at home we recommend you disinfect your toothbrush with hydrogen peroxide; even soak your mouthguard and retainers in it for 5-10 minutes. If you use a Waterpik, fill it with hydrogen peroxide and irrigate your mouth with it instead of just water. You can even rinse your mouth with hydrogen peroxide for 60 seconds.

However, the concentration most commonly sold in the pharmacies is 3% hydrogen peroxide. If you want to use it as a mouthwash, dilute it 1:2. This means 1 part of hydrogen peroxide to 2 parts of water. 

I hope this helps, stay safe!