Is Oral hygiene necessary to fight Coronavirus?
The oral cavity is a potentially high risk for Coronavirus and the virus has a high infectious susceptibility to oral epithelial cells. Coronavirus infects cells below the voice box, in the airways and deep in the lungs, unlike flu viruses which start with your nose and throat. Other than via tiny particles inhaled in air, coronavirus reaches those cells via fluid in the nose or throat that sneaks past your voice box (this is called aspiration) and slides down your windpipe, or trachea. Keeping your mouth and throat clear of infectious pathogens throughout the day and before you sleep at night (when most aspiration usually occurs) is paramount right now.
What oral hygiene measures can I take to decrease my personal exposure to coronavirus?
– Brush and floss your teeth, swish and spit, and gargle twice with an antiseptic mouthwash. Since 2019-nCoV is vulnerable to oxidation, a mouth rinse containing oxidative agents such as 1% hydrogen peroxide or 0.2% povidone is recommended.
– Tongue cleaning may play an important role, as it has been reported that ACE2 is the main host cell receptor of 2019-nCoV and plays a crucial role in entry of virus into the cell to cause final infection. As recent studies show there is a high expression of ACE2 receptors (highly enriched) in epithelial cells of the tongue.
Stop touching your face. The eyes, nose and mouth, all are entry portals for the new coronavirus and many other germs. Wash your hands and face well with soap and warm water, including — on a finger — a quarter-inch into each nostril. Then gently blow your nose. DON’T use those irrigating devices, like neti-pots, that might force viruses further inside! Soap helps lift germs from the surface of the skin, but it’s the scrubbing that gets germs off hands. Hand sanitizer is a good alternative, but it must have at least 60 percent alcohol to be effective, according to the CDC.
Practice social distancing by standing 6-feet away from others even when outside, wear a mask when possible, and avoid indoor close gatherings of people.