Dentist claims brushing your teeth regularly could help prevent the spread of coronavirus

Maintaining good oral hygiene could help prevent the spread of coronavirus, according to a leading Welsh dentist.

Covid-19 is commonly spread by saliva and droplets generated when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or speaks.

Most toothpastes and mouthwashes contain detergents with anti-viral qualities, similar to those in hand sanitisers, which could impact the ability of the virus to spread.

Michael Lewis from Cardiff is a professor of oral medicine and says spending four minutes a day on cleaning your teeth "has never been so important."

"Research has demonstrated that poor oral hygiene is an important factor that could influence occurrence of respiratory infection. This is especially relevant at this time of the Covid-19 pandemic. The public needs to appreciate the benefit of good oral hygiene (tooth brushing, inter-dental cleaning and mouthwash).

"At the time of lockdown people have adequate time to spend just two minutes twice daily cleaning their teeth. This has never been so important.

"Covid-19 spreads via saliva and this is the basis of the need for social distancing. Toothpastes and mouthwashes contain substances, similar to those in hand sanitizers, that have antiviral actions and these could also impact the ability of the Covid-19 to spread which is obviously an additional benefit of a good oral hygiene regimen.

"So everyone please wash your hands and clean your teeth."

Credit: PA

Health officials say the best protection from coronavirus is to regularly wash your hands with soap and water.

If soap and water are not available, hand sanitiser gel can be used until people can get to a sink.

People are encouraged to wash their hands for 20 seconds.