True or False? Brushing your Teeth Could Help with Covid-19
There’s a theory floating around that good oral hygiene could help you avoid catching Covid-19, and keep you from having a serious case if you do happen to catch it. Is this true?
Let’s break down the truth from the rumor with the help of scientific research.
Can Good Oral Hygiene Help Me Avoid Catching Covid-19?
Many people are claiming that using mouthwash regularly or gargling with salt water or vinegar can kill the virus in your mouth and keep it from traveling from your throat to your lungs.
This isn’t true, unfortunately, according to doctors at MIT, the famed Massachusetts Institute of Technology:
“While this claim has spread widely on social media, there is no evidence that gargling warm water with salt or a vinegar solution prevents infection with COVID-19. Interestingly, this “cure” was popular during the spread of SARS, MERS, and Zika as well — and was equally useless then”
The CDC and many doctors recommend gargling salt water as a way of soothing a sore throat, but there is currently no hard scientific evidence that the practice will help you avoid Covid-19.
Can Good Oral Hygiene Help Me Avoid a Serious Case of Covid-19?
The answer to this, surprisingly for many, seems to be yes.
Many of the most serious complications of Covid-19 are caused by co-infections of pathogens attacking already immuno-compromised individuals.
One study found that over 50% of people who died of Covid-19 had bacterial superinfections as well.
Why is that important for oral hygiene? Because many of the harmful pathogens that can cause these types of dangerous co-infections are found in unhealthy teeth and gums.
Peridontidis is a very common gum disease that is actually just an ongoing bacterial infection. Studies have shown that all sorts of very harmful bacteria, including Streptococcus, thrive in the abscesses that can be a part of Peridontidis.
One study found that oral pathogens can be aspirated into the lungs, causing or worsening a lung infection in Covid-19 patients.
In short, if you have a lot of harmful bacteria living in your mouth because of bad oral hygiene, there’s a chance they could play a role in a serious Covid-19 complication.
The Bottom Line?
While brushing, flossing, and using a good mouthwash won’t prevent you from catching Covid-19, they might be able to help you avoid the secondary superinfections that can lead to a much more serious case.
Time to grab that toothbrush and go to work!
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