Antiviral Activity of Reagents in Mouth Rinses against SARS-CoV-2

J Dent Res. 2021 Feb;100(2):124-132. doi: 10.1177/0022034520967933. Epub 2020 Oct 22.


The oral cavity, an essential part of the upper aerodigestive tract, is believed to play an important role in the pathogenicity and transmission of SARS-CoV-2. The identification of targeted antiviral mouth rinses to reduce salivary viral load would contribute to reducing the COVID-19 pandemic. While awaiting the results of significant clinical studies, which to date do not exist, the commercial availability of mouth rinses leads us to search among them for reagents that would have specific antiviral properties with respect to SARS-CoV-2. The challenges facing this target were examined for 7 reagents found in commercially available mouth rinses and listed on the website: povidone-iodine, chlorhexidine, hydrogen peroxide, cyclodextrin, Citrox, cetylpyridinium chloride, and essential oils. Because SARS-CoV-2 is an enveloped virus, many reagents target the outer lipid membrane. Moreover, some of them can act on the capsid by denaturing proteins. Until now, there has been no scientific evidence to recommend mouth rinses with an anti-SARS-CoV-2 effect to control the viral load in the oral cavity. This critical review indicates that current knowledge of these reagents would likely improve trends in salivary viral load status. This finding is a strong sign to encourage clinical research for which quality protocols are already available in the literature.

Keywords: COVID-19; clinical trial; mouthwashes; oral; saliva; viral load.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antiviral Agents / pharmacology*
  • COVID-19 / prevention & control*
  • Humans
  • Indicators and Reagents
  • Mouth / virology
  • Mouthwashes / pharmacology*
  • Pandemics


  • Antiviral Agents
  • Indicators and Reagents
  • Mouthwashes