Recent studies conducted by Colgate-Palmolive suggest that our oral care products may play a role in temporarily reducing the amount of COVID-19 virus in your mouth. Laboratory tests found that specific kinds of toothpaste, mouthwashes and mouth spray neutralised SARS-CoV-2 — the virus that causes COVID-19 — by more than 99%. A clinical test was performed pre-procedurally with COVID-19-positive patients. It showed that certain mouthwashes with cetylpyridinium chloride (CPC) plus zinc, hydrogen peroxide, or chlorhexidine (CHX) significantly reduced the amount of virus in the mouth for up to 30 and 60 minutes after rinsing. Keep reading for answers to some of the most frequently asked questions. Please note that not all products are available in all markets. Check with your nearest retailer to determine whether a product is available in your location.
Q&A ON COLGATE-PALMOLIVE LABORATORY AND CLINICAL RESULTS FOR EFFECTS OF TOOTHPASTE AND MOUTHWASH ON COVID-19 VIRUS
1. Which toothpastes and mouthwashes neutralised SARS-CoV-2 by more than 99% in a laboratory test?
○ Toothpastes include: Colgate® Total and select Meridol products.
○ Mouthwashes and sprays include: Those with 0.075% CPC, including most variants of Colgate® Total Spray and Mouthwash, Colgate® Plax, Vedshakti Spray, and Colgate® Zero Mouthwash. Meridol mouthwash, which does not have CPC, also neutralised SARS-CoV-2 by 99%.
2. Which mouthwashes significantly reduced the amount of virus in the mouth for up to 60 minutes in the clinical study?
Peroxyl, PerioGard, and Colgate® Total (outside the U.S.), sold as Colgate® Zero in North America.
3. Would reduced virus levels in my mouth protect me from getting or transmitting COVID-19?
If the COVID-19 virus is detected in your mouth, then you have already contracted the virus. There is currently no conclusive evidence that reducing virus levels in your mouth will prevent you from getting or transmitting the virus. However, lowering the amount of virus in your saliva -- which can be transmitted through talking, singing or coughing -- might help reduce your transmission risk.
4. Would reduced virus levels in my mouth make my COVID-19 symptoms less severe or help me recover more quickly?
There is currently no clinical evidence to prove that reducing virus levels in your mouth will make your COVID-19 symptoms less severe or help you recover more quickly. Many factors contribute to the length and severity of COVID-19, including the strength of your immune system.
5. What does it mean to “neutralise the virus”
"Neutralising the virus" means that while the virus is still present, it is no longer infectious and can no longer multiply.
6. How do oral care products help to neutralise the virus?
Current data suggest these oral care products dissolve the envelope that surrounds the virus. Losing this outer protective coating prevents the virus from attaching to cells and infecting them.
7. Should I brush or rinse before going out or meeting people?
Currently, there is no conclusive evidence that brushing or rinsing protects against getting or transmitting COVID-19. However, lowering the amount of virus in your saliva -- which can be transmitted through talking, singing or coughing -- might reduce the risk of transmission. Regular brushing and rinsing with safe and effective products is key to maintaining good oral health. Oral care should continue to be part of your daily personal hygiene routine. You should continue to wear masks, practice social distancing and wash your hands to help prevent virus transmission. We have planned additional studies to determine how brushing and rinsing affect the amount of virus in your mouth.
8. How do laboratory test results represent what happens in a person's mouth?
Laboratory testing is a simplified model used to determine, under very controlled conditions, whether Colgate® antimicrobial formulas can neutralise the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Laboratory testing is an internationally accepted and recognised method to assess viral inactivation for both toothpaste and mouthwash. Colgate-Palmolive is conducting additional clinical research to determine whether similar results occur in the mouth to help neutralise and lower virus levels.
9. Compared to Listerine, Crest and other competitors, how effective are the tested Colgate-Palmolive products against the SARS-CoV-2 virus?
We did not test the efficacy of competitor products.
10. If I brush my teeth or rinse with mouthwash, do I need to wear a mask?
Yes. The World Health Organization (WHO), the National Health Service (NHS) and the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) recommend everyone wear face masks to reduce the transmission of COVID-19. Continue to follow guidelines that help prevent the contraction and spread of COVID-19, such as wearing a mask, practising social distancing and washing your hands.
11. Does brushing your teeth or rinsing with mouthwash have any effect on your antibodies?
No, brushing your teeth or rinsing with mouthwash will not have any impact on your antibodies.
12. Does every toothpaste neutralise the virus that causes COVID-19?
Besides Colgate® Total and select Meridol products, we have not tested other toothpastes to determine whether they neutralise the COVID-19 virus.
13. Does brushing my teeth impact the amount of the virus that causes COVID-19 in my mouth?
While our SARS-CoV-2 laboratory results are encouraging, we cannot say whether these effects will also occur in the mouth without conducting a clinical study. Our clinical programme is currently testing subjects with positive COVID-19 tests to understand if brushing with Colgate® Total toothpaste will temporarily reduce the amount of virus in the mouth.
14. How long do the benefits of Colgate Total toothpaste last concerning the levels of virus that cause COVID-19?
We are doing more research to determine whether the neutralisation of the virus in laboratory tests will also occur in the mouth. Our clinical results will help us understand how much the virus is reduced and for how long.
Mouth Rinse and Mouth Spray Questions
15. Which products contain 0.075% of cetylpyridinium chloride (CPC)?
Most variants of Colgate® Total Spray and Mouthwash, Colgate® Plax, Vedshakti Spray, and Colgate® Zero Mouthwash.
16. Does every mouthwash or mouth spray temporarily reduce the amount of virus in the mouth?
In our clinical study, we only tested Colgate® Peroxyl, Colgate® PerioGard, and Colgate® Total (outside the U.S.), sold as Colgate® Zero in North America. We are pleased to report their effectiveness in temporarily reducing the amount of virus in the mouth. We did not test other products.
17. Do chlorhexidine (CHX) 0.12% and 0.2% work as well as hydrogen peroxide?
The laboratory study was not designed to compare effectiveness between products. It was used only to screen the ability of products to neutralise the SARS-CoV-2 virus.
18. How much will rinsing with mouthwash or using mouth spray reduce the amount of virus in my mouth?
Laboratory tests showed that in either 30 or 60 seconds of contact time, Colgate® mouth rinses with cetylpyridinium chloride (CPC) neutralised the virus that causes COVID-19 by 99.9%. We conducted an initial clinical study to determine whether this neutralisation effect translates into a temporary reduction of the virus in the mouth and confirmed that it does. Study results from a clinical study conducted with Colgate® Total (outside the U.S.), sold as Colgate® Zero in North America, Colgate® PerioGard, and Colgate® Peroxyl mouthwashes showed that rinsing as directed provided an immediate impact, significantly reducing virus levels in the mouth. These reduced virus levels were sustained up to 30 and 60 minutes after rinsing, though levels were lowest immediately after rinsing.
19. Will rinsing with mouthwash protect me from COVID-19?
A clinical study showed a significant reduction of virus levels in the mouth using certain mouthwashes, which was sustained up to 30 and 60 minutes after rinsing. However, no conclusive evidence currently exists that rinsing with a mouthwash or using a mouth spray protects against contracting or transmitting COVID-19. Rinsing regularly, however, plays an important role in maintaining good oral health. Dental professionals recommend using mouthwash as a part of a daily oral care regimen.
20. To reduce the amount of the virus that causes COVID-19, should I rinse with mouthwash only at home, or also before procedures at the dentist?
Our research found that the largest reduction in virus levels generally occurred immediately after rinsing, and the levels remained significantly lower for up to 60 minutes. We recommend that you rinse at home as directed as part of your daily oral health regimen. Based on our clinical study, we also recommend rinsing immediately before dental procedures.
21. When should patients rinse before a dental procedure?
Results from the clinical study recorded the largest reduction in virus levels immediately after rinsing. The levels remained significantly reduced for up to 60 minutes post-rinsing. Based on the results, you could consider having your patients rinse immediately before starting a procedure. You could also recommend that patients rinse less than one hour before arriving at your office to help protect staff they might interact with before their procedure.
This article is intended to promote understanding of and knowledge about general oral health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your dentist or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment.