​An everyday antiseptic mouth rinse with anti-viral properties, which can be used to help reduce the spread of viruses like Covid-19 in a pandemic, was launched on Nov 23.

It was developed by the National Dental Centre Singapore (NDCS) and home-grown oral care brand Pearlie White.

The mouth rinse suppresses the viral load in the mouth, thus reducing the chance of the virus spreading through saliva, said Associate Professor Jaya Seneviratne, principal investigator at the National Dental Research Institute Singapore (NDRIS).

However, the virus can still be spread by other means, for example, through respiratory secretions from the nose.

Pearlie White Defenze Antiseptic Fluoride Mouthrinse was launched at the Joint 37th International Association of Dental Researchers, South-east Asia Annual Scientific Meeting and 2nd International Oral Health Symposium.

It all started in 2020, when Prof Seneviratne, inspired by his volunteer work at a migrant workers’ dormitory, conducted the first-of-its-kind randomised clinical trial to study the efficacy of mouth rinses on reducing salivary Covid-19 virus, known as SARS CoV-2.

The clinical trial showed that commercial mouth rinses containing cetylpyridinium chloride (CPC) effectively suppress the salivary SARS CoV-2 levels within five minutes of use. This effect is sustained for up to six hours after use. There have since been similar studies done that showed the same results.

The newly launched mouth rinse combines ingredients that help fight tooth decay and bad breath, making it a product that can be used daily, said Mr Andy Ong, founder of Pearlie White.

In a joint press release on Nov 23, NDCS’ deputy chief executive officer for research and education Marco A. Peres said that it holds promise to manage the spread of aerosol-transmitted viruses.

“The mouth rinse will reduce overall cross-infection between patients and healthcare workers and offer benefits in aerosol-generating clinical settings, such as intubation for general anaesthesia. This innovation can further protect dentists and dental providers from risk of infection through aerosols generated during dental treatments,” said Professor Peres.

At the meeting-cum-symposium, Singapore’s chief dental officer Chng Chai Kiat said that the translational research behind the new mouth rinse is a sterling example of a collaboration that harnesses the best know-how from both sides – expertise in oral health research and deep industry knowledge and experience to formulate a unique mouth rinse that will benefit the wider public.

“It’s alcohol-free, halal-certified and made in Singapore, and it also contains ingredients that fight against bad breath and tooth decay,” said Mr Ong.

The Straits Times © Singapore Press Holdings Limited. Permission required for reproduction.