Brazilian researchers have found that toothbrushes can act as reservoirs for microorganisms and favor the transmission of diseases such as COVID-19. Patients who are infected with SARS-CoV-2 have “high viral loads in saliva, nasopharynx and oropharynx” which can occur even in asymptomatic people.
A recent study demonstrated that commercially available mouthwashes can inactivate SARS-CoV-2 in vitro. The results showed that antiseptic solutions containing ethanol and essential oils, exemplified by the brand Listerine Cool Mint, to name one, had satisfactory effects in reducing viral load. The Disinfection Protocol as proposed by the authors after a review of the available data include:
- Wash your hands with soap and water or sanitize them with 70% alcohol rub
- Disinfect the toothbrush handle surface with 70% alcohol for one minute
- Brush your teeth
- Wash the toothbrush and perform a new disinfection of its handle surface with 70% alcohol for one minute
- Leave the brushhead immersed in a solution of ethanol and essential oils for 20 minutes
- Store the brush individually after letting it dry
According to the authors, the steps for disinfecting the toothbrush with 70% alcohol are important when brushing in collective environments such as in schools or in the workplace and don’t need to be performed in the household environment if not desired.
Toothbrushes play an essential role in oral hygiene, but they can also act as reservoirs for microorganisms, favoring the transmission of diseases in healthy and sick individuals. Stay the course, stay well, mask up, brush your teeth and stay tuned!