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Guide to oral hygiene during the COVID-19

Did you know that the mouth is one of the main entry points for the coronavirus? Do you know what oral health problems patients suffer from COVID? In this complete guide we analyse the oral hygiene measures recommended by experts to prevent and take care of ourselves against this disease in a simple and effective way.

COVID-19

1. How does COVID-19 affect oral hygiene?

Although COVID-19 is a disease that mainly affects the respiratory tract, where the virus develops, it has a series of symptoms and manifestations in different areas of the body and vital organs. One of these is the mouth, the main source of infection and reservoir of the virus. This is why it is so important to follow proper oral hygiene to prevent and treat the spread of the virus.

The daily use of masks, the change in lifestyle brought about by confinement to the home, and other practices associated with the new normal, sometimes lead to a neglect of hygiene habits. All of this is aggravated by the after-effects of the virus itself, such as loss of taste, mouth ulcers and dryness. Consequently, it is necessary to follow the advice provided by experts to maximise oral hygiene and fight against the coronavirus.

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2. Cetylpyridinium chloride rinses for virus prevention

Cetylpyridinium chloride (CPC) is a compound commonly used in mouthwashes for the treatment of periodontal diseases. Together with chlorhexidine, they are the safest and most effective antiseptics against bacteria, viruses and other microorganisms that cause infections of the oral mucosa.

Specifically, CPC acts by degrading the lipid bilayer of the envelope of different strains of the influenza virus (associated with influenza), similar to that of SARS-CoV-2, which causes COVID-19. A concentration of cetylpyridinium chloride of only 0.05% reduces the viral load in the mouth and is used as a prophylactic measure in dental clinics before, during and after treatment to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

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3. Can CPC mouthwashes reduce viral load?

CPC at a concentration of 0.05% contained in mouthwashes helps to reduce the viral load in the mouth and throat. The use of this type of Mouthwash helps to prevent immediate transmission from a person carrying the virus to a healthy individual within 3 to 5 hours of use.

The use of cetylpyridinium chloride mouth rinses, together with other oral care recommendations such as daily brushing, flossing, interproximal brushes and tongue cleaners, significantly controls the spread of pathogens in the mouth.

4. Cetylpyridinium chloride oral hygiene products

Cetylpyridinium chloride mouthwashes have been used for years as a highly effective prophylactic tool against different types of microorganisms. In an adequate concentration, this quaternary ammonium derivative is completely harmless to human health, yet it is able to eliminate bacteria, viruses and fungi responsible for the main infections of the oral mucosa.

In addition to preventing dental plaque, CPC rinses prevent caries, gum infection, and other problems related to the growth of microorganisms such as halitosis. By maximising oral hygiene with these mouthwashes, we protect against the coronavirus and at the same time limit its spread in asymptomatic patients.

5. Mask use and oral hygiene

The mask has become an everyday accessory to protect against the coronavirus. However, spending too much time with the mask on can also have negative effects, not only on the skin around the mouth, but also inside the oral cavity.

Although no direct relationship has been found between the use of the mask and the most frequent oral pathologies, the maintenance of oral hygiene in times of COVID-19 has become an essential practice. Neglecting oral hygiene could reveal common problems such as halitosis and caries, promoting the growth of bacteria naturally found in the mouth by providing a more suitable anaerobic environment for their development.

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6. Oral problems related to COVID-19

Since the beginning of the spread of COVID-19, many symptoms related to the disease have been described in patients. Loss of taste and smell, together with fever, are the most frequent. However, scientific studies link coronavirus infection with oral problems such as sores, gingivitis, dry mouth and bad breath, among others.

The vast majority of these manifestations of COVID-19 infection appear once the disease has been overcome. They derive from loss of taste and reduced saliva production, affecting the gums and the integrity of tooth enamel. Others are related to the stress experienced by patients, as well as the use of the mask or possible neglect of oral hygiene during treatment of the disease.

7. The role of toothbrushes in coronavirus transmission

Did you know that toothbrushes are a potential transmitter of coronavirus in the home? The different microorganisms can remain between the bristles of the toothbrush for weeks, causing re-infection and increasing the risk of contagion within the household.

For this reason, advice has been issued to take extra care with toothbrushes at the time of COVID-19. Especially when a member of the family is a carrier of SARS-CoV-2 or after the disease has passed, it is necessary to follow the protocol to control the transmission of the virus.

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8. Oral hygiene recommendations for COVID-19

What are the steps to follow to maximise oral hygiene during the pandemic? The use of appropriate toothpastes and mouthwashes, good toothbrush maintenance, and following a proper oral hygiene protocol are just a few examples.

Some experts have developed different guides for citizens showing the best tips to avoid contracting or spreading the virus. Don't forget to disinfect your toothbrush after each use, and store it properly, in the correct position, to avoid the development of bacteria, also limiting the spread of COVID-19.
Find all the information you need to take care of your mouth in times of coronavirus, protecting your health and the health of those around you.

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