Oral Hygiene During Covid-19

Can our Toothbrush be a source of Infection?

The coronavirus infects human cells of the upper respiratory tract (hence the lung lesions) and the salivary glands, these being early targets of infection. They can also be in the mouth, mainly on the tongue, which is a great reservoir of viral germs. Therefore, tooth brushing, interproximal hygiene and tongue cleaning are essential in order to reduce the viral load in the oral area.

Few things to take care of in co living conditions in order to prevent spread of COVID 19,

Tooth brushes within the family should not be in the same container.

After use, cleaning devices like toothbrush and tongue cleaners become contaminated and, if not disinfected, can be a reservoir of microorganisms (including bacteria, viruses and fungi) that maintain their viability for a significant amount of time, ranging from 24 h to 7 days. These Microbes can be reintroduced into the oral cavity or can spread to other individuals when cleaning devices are stored together. Especially if we are asymptomatic carriers and if the brushes are placed together, it can encourage cross contamination.

The same tube of toothpaste should also not be used between members of the same family

As this is another way of facilitating cross-contamination.
Storage – The toothbrush should be stored with the brush head upwards, as it helps in faster drying and prevents the spread of microorganisms. Even if the brush is accompanied by a wrapper, it must have openings to facilitate drying.

Toilets – should be considered as a possible source of viral occurs after toilet flushing. This is the reason why the toothbrush should also be kept away from the toilet (at least 1 m) to avoid possible contamination, as the virus is also found in feces and urine.

How to Prevent Cross-infection?

Disinfection of the brush head after use with povidone-iodine at 0.2% or hydrogen peroxide diluted at 1% for 1 min is very necessary to maintain cleanliness , as the brush filaments can be infected by germs from the environment.

When there is an active case of COVID-19, a 0.2% povidone-iodine mouthwash or 1% dilution of hydrogen peroxide can be used for 1 min to try to control the oral load of germs.
There are many families who are currently confined to their homes because they are positive for COVID-19. Precautionary measures regarding cleanliness and asepsis to be performed in the homes by family members are well-known in order to prevent infection among them. A greater emphasis on oral care is the need of the hour to reduce the viral load and prevent the risk of cross-contamination of COVID-19.

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