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Toothpaste and mouthwash inactivate 99.9% of the virus that causes COVID-19

A Correction to this article was published on 22 January 2021

This article has been updated

Laboratory studies show that toothpastes containing zinc or stannous and mouthwash formulas with cetylpyridinium chloride (CPC) neutralise the virus that causes COVID-19 by 99.9%.

The studies are part of a Colgate research programme that includes clinical studies among infected people to assess the efficacy of oral care products in reducing the amount of the virus in the mouth, potentially slowing the transmission of the COVID-19 virus.

In the laboratory studies - the first to include toothpaste - Colgate Total and Meridol toothpaste neutralised 99.9% of the virus after two minutes of contact. Colgate Plax, Colgate Total and Colgate Zero mouthwashes were similarly effective after 30 seconds. The studies, completed in October, were conducted in partnership with Rutgers University's Public Health Research Institute and Regional Biosafety Laboratories.

The results suggest that some toothpastes and mouthwashes may help reduce the spread of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, by temporarily reducing the amount of virus in the mouth. The virus spreads through respiratory droplets or small particles produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes, sings, talks, or breathes, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Concurrent to the laboratory study, a Colgate-sponsored clinical study involving some 50 hospitalised subjects with COVID-19 was conducted at the Albert Einstein Institute in Sao Paulo, Brazil. This study demonstrated the ability of certain Colgate mouthwashes to substantially reduce the amount of the virus in the mouth temporarily. The researchers plan to share their findings in early December. Additional Colgate-supported clinical research studies on toothpaste and mouthwashes are in early stages at Rutgers, the Einstein Institute, and at the University of North Carolina Adams School of Dentistry, with some 260 people with COVID-19 participating in these studies.

As the world's #1 trusted dental expert, Colgate is committed to leading in science and to ensuring that its products address health challenges and meet consumers' needs. For more information about the effects of oral hygiene on overall health and additional insights on mask mouth and other topics, visit

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Toothpaste and mouthwash inactivate 99.9% of the virus that causes COVID-19. Br Dent J 229, 753 (2020).

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