Clinical Research Program Underway To Validate Potential of Oral Health Products to Slow Spread of the Virus
Laboratory studies show that toothpastes containing zinc or stannous and mouthwash formulas with cetylpyridinium chloride (CPC) neutralize the virus that causes COVID-19 by 99.9 percent. The studies are part of a research program that includes clinical studies among infected people to assess the efficacy of oral care products in reducing the amount of the virus in the mouth, potentially slowing the transmission of the COVID-19 virus.
In the laboratory studies -- the first to include toothpastes containing zinc or stannous neutralized 99.9% of the virus after two minutes of contact. Mouthwashes containing CPC were similarly effective after 30 seconds. The studies, completed in October, were conducted in partnership with Rutgers New Jersey Medical School’s (NJMS) Public Health Research Institute and Regional Biosafety Laboratories.
The results suggest that some toothpastes and mouthwashes may help reduce the spread of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, by temporarily reducing the amount of virus in the mouth. The virus spreads through respiratory droplets or small particles produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes, sings, talks, or breathes, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Said Dr. David Alland, Chief of Infectious Diseases and Director of the Center for COVID-19 Response and Pandemic Preparedness, who led the Rutgers NJMS study along with colleagues Drs. Pradeep Kumar and Riccardo Russo: “Given that saliva can contain amounts of virus that are comparable to that found in the nose and throat, it seems likely that SARS-CoV-2 virus originating in the mouth contributes to disease transmission, especially in persons with asymptomatic COVID-19, who are not coughing. This suggests that reducing virus in the mouth could help prevent transmission during the time that oral care products are active.”
Said Dr. Mark Wolff, Morton Amsterdam Dean of Penn Dental Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania: “With this pandemic, the more we understand about the virus, the more effective we can be in fighting it, so I am excited to see the impressive research program that has been undertaken. We need to continue to take the precautions recommended by health authorities, and with these studies we may demonstrate an additional way to address the transmission of disease among people in close contact, particularly in dental practice. That would be an important advance.”