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Brushing your teeth to reduce viral load

Written by
28th May 2020

Black electric toothbrush

COVID-19 has crept into every part of our lives and the bathroom is no exception. But did you know there is a convincing association between keeping your mouth clean and reducing the risk of spreading viruses?

At The London Lingual Orthodontic Clinic, we are passionate about the importance of maintaining good oral hygiene. As we’ve often highlighted, brushing your teeth is not just about cleaning the food out of your mouth; it’s about the rigorous removal of plaque, which is an ever present threat to dental health. If plaque is not removed, it will build up and over time and cause dental decay, which is why it’s so important to ensure you’re brushing your teeth twice a day.

Dental hygiene and preventing viral infections

So, what is the COVID-19 connection? A leading dental authority, Emeritus Professor Martin Addy, recently gained national media attention after he suggested that brushing your teeth can help prevent the spread of the virus.

This theory outlines how most soap products (such as hand sanitising gel) and toothpastes share the same cleansing ingredient, sodium lauryl sulphate, a foaming agent which helps remove bacteria. Applying this thinking to the current pandemic, we know that the virus is spread through touch and, as a result, we are washing our hands routinely and regularly. We wash them when we return to our homes, arrive at another destination, are about to eat a meal and when we have touched anything that someone else has handled. But we know that the virus is also spread through saliva, so why do we not exercise more attentive oral hygiene?

The more you can remove bacteria that resides within you, the more you are reducing ‘viral load’. In case you haven’t heard it mentioned before, viral load is is one of the new phrases that have crept into our pandemic vocabulary, like social distancing, and essentially refers to the volume of virus a person is carrying.

We’re sure it won’t be long before there is some kind of study which proves Professor Addy’s theory. In the meantime, we’ll continue to maintain thorough oral hygiene and regularly brush throughout the day, plus we will be asking patients to clean their teeth before they come into see us. Once patients arrive, they will be asked to use an antimicrobial mouthwash before we start treatment.

We must all do what we can; by reducing viral load, we can perhaps take a small load off all our minds in these worrying times.

Updates from the clinic

You can read the latest update on our response to the COVID-19 situation here. For more information and articles on dental health, click here.



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