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Toothpaste and mouthwash found effective in neutralizing SARS-CoV-2

By Dental Tribune International
December 03, 2020

NEW YORK, U.S.: Recent laboratory studies have shown that toothpastes containing zinc or stannous fluoride and mouthwash formulas with cetylpyridinium chloride (CPC) can effectively neutralize SARS-CoV-2. The studies are part of a Colgate-Palmolive research program in which scientists are assessing the efficacy of oral care products in reducing the amount of SARS-CoV-2 in the mouths of people who have COVID-19 and potentially slowing down the spread of the virus.

The studies were conducted in partnership with Rutgers New Jersey Medical School’s (NJMS) Public Health Research Institute and Regional Biocontainment Laboratory in Newark and were completed in October. In the studies that examined toothpaste, Colgate Total and Meridol toothpastes were found to neutralize 99.9% of the virus after two minutes of contact. Mouthwashes, such as Colgate Plax and Colgate Total, were effective after only 30 seconds. The results suggest that some toothpastes and mouthwashes may help slow down the spread of SARS-CoV-2 by temporarily reducing the viral load in the mouth.

“We’re at the early stages of our clinical investigations, but our preliminary laboratory and clinical results are very promising,” said Dr. Maria Ryan, chief dental officer at Colgate-Palmolive. “While brushing and rinsing are not a treatment or a way to fully protect an individual from infection, they may help to reduce transmission and slow the spread of the virus, supplementing the benefit we get from wearing masks, social distancing and frequent hand-washing.”

“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 co-author Prof. David Alland, director of the Center for COVID-19 Response and Pandemic Preparedness at NJMS.

“We think oral care has a role to play in fighting the global pandemic, alongside other preventive measures”
— Dr. Maria Ryan, Colgate-Palmolive

Colgate also sponsored a clinical study involving some 50 participants who were hospitalized with COVID-19. The study demonstrated the ability of certain mouthwashes, such as Colgate Total, which contains CPC and zinc, Colgate Peroxyl and Colgate PerioGard, to temporarily reduce the viral load in the mouth. The researchers’ findings will be released in December. Colgate is also currently supporting other clinical research studies on toothpaste and mouthwashes that are in their early stages at NJMS, at the Instituto Israelita de Ensino e Pesquisa Albert Einstein (Israeli Institute of Education and Research Albert Einstein) in São Paulo in Brazil and at the Adams School of Dentistry at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The studies involve approximately 260 people with COVID-19.

“Colgate is collaborating with numerous investigators throughout the globe to conduct clinical research to explore the potential of oral care products to reduce oral viral loads as a risk reduction strategy,” Ryan commented. “We think oral care has a role to play in fighting the global pandemic, alongside other preventive measures.”

“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 Colgate has undertaken,” said Prof. Mark Wolff, Morton Amsterdam Dean of the University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine. “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,” he concluded.

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