According to new research published in BMC Oral Health, the oral hygiene habits within your household could be enhancing the spread of COVID-19. Despite one-in-four Brits admitting to sharing a toothbrush with others, we’re not just talking about direct bacteria transmission from toothbrushes!
The study also took into consideration virus cross-contamination from using shared toothbrush containers, using the same tube of toothpaste as those in your household and not replacing your toothbrush after having had the virus.
So, what was the outcome of the study?
After monitoring hundreds of families over the course of 15 days, those conducting the study found that…
- 55% of COVID-positive people who shared a toothbrush passed the virus onto others living in their household.
- 66% of people who tested positive for COVID-19 and shared a toothbrush container with family members passed the virus onto them (higher transmission than sharing a toothbrush!)
- People who disinfect their toothbrush with an antibacterial mouthwash reduce the likelihood of transmission by 39%.
- 54% of those who did not change their toothbrush after testing positive for COVID-19 passed the virus onto people in their household.
The results also found tongue brushing to be the most effective oral hygiene habit for reducing the spread of the virus.
Our advice for virus-reducing oral hygiene
It might seem obvious what we now need to do to reduce the risk of COVID-19 spreading at home, but we’ve put together some helpful tips to help you put those oral hygiene habits into practice.
- Have spare toothbrushes or toothbrush heads available in the house, so that you are ready to replace yours if you do get COVID-19.
- Use an antibacterial mouthwash as part of your toothbrushing routine, to reduce the likelihood of COVID-19 transmission.
- Have dedicated toothbrush containers for each member of your household. It might even be a good idea to label or colour code them to ensure there is no cross-contamination.
- Similarly to the above, have dedicated tubes of toothpaste for each member of your household, which is labelled or colour coded.
For more advice, take a look at our other articles relating to coronavirus:
FAQs – Coronavirus and Premium Dental Implants
Is it safe to visit the dentist during the pandemic?
Keeping our patients and staff safe as we reopen
Managing your oral health at home