Dental Expert Stresses Oral Hygiene During The COVID-19 (coronavirus) Scare

With the global escalation of the COVID-19 (coronavirus), oral health has never been more important than now and Beverly Hills cosmetic dental expert Dr. Laurence Rifkin, DDS discusses important methods to keep you healthy, both now and in the future. To learn more about Dr. Laurence Rifkin, DDS, visit or call 310.273.0200.



Therefore, social distancing from other potential carriers and/or surfaces contaminated with the virus is essential. The hands are the most common source for transfer of the virus to the face, nose and mouth so make sure to wash and clean hands thoroughly and often.

WE Must minimize the amount of virus and other microbes in the mouth and esophagus to avoid the lungs aspirating saliva which may contain the virus. It has been purported that most saliva-lung aspirations occur while we sleep so it is very important to perform thorough oral hygiene methods and to use an antimicrobial mouthwash rinse before bedtime. Follow all CDC, ADA and CDA recommendations during this current epidemic crisis.


First of all let me emphasize that Dentists historically practice universal precautions and sterilization procedures to protect our patients and ourselves from transmission of diseases. Our offices are inspected by OSHA and we are required to receive continuing education and updates on sterilization in the office, as well as testing of our autoclaves and sterilization equipment. The dental staff is at a greater risk than the individual patient.  Surfaces, instruments, dental materials and equipment, including chairs and anything that may make contact with the patient or their aerosols, are wiped clean frequently and between each patient entry into the treatment rooms with sanitized wipes, sprays, etc.

  • Most of our supplies are one-use and disposable. The rest are sterilized.
  • That being said, this disease can be airborne through coughing and sneezing and thus could be transmitted in the environment and other people as well as surface contact.
  • Of course everyone is concerned so I strongly recommend following the CDC and all medical and governmental agency guidelines and mandates and stay updated daily on the current situation.
  • This virus may be a short-term illness, but serious illness relative to longer term dental ailments, and thus require immediate response as opposed to regular dental treatments.  As such, it is recommended that any elective or non-emergency or non-urgent dental treatments be delayed for an initial time until more is known about how to combat the COVID-19 virus.
  • The virus is a respiratory transmitted disease, infection may be contracted by the virus being inhaled through the mouth as well as the nose.  This why we are to avoid touching our face with our hands which may be contaminated with the virus.
  • We don’t know enough yet but we do know that the less bacteria and viruses we intake, the more we reduce the chances of getting this disease and many others.
  • There are some unofficial reports from some Asian doctors and others that have recommended drinking water every 15 minutes to wash the mouth and throat free of these microbes where they may be taken into the stomach and killed by the digestive acids, thereby not getting into the lungs where the virus causes the most damage. We don’t know if there is any verifiable science for this suggestion yet.


  • In order to reduce the spread of the virus in businesses and medical/dental offices, staff will be questioning patients about recent travel, or if they have been near or with someone with symptoms as well as their feeling of well-being.
  • Your dentist is required to screen every patient with a possible ATD or aerosol transmissible disease for symptoms and signs of illness or recent travel outside the US within the last two weeks whether or not they are symptom free.
  • Taking patients temperature prior to treatment may also be initiated.
  • Reducing patient to patient and staff proximity by social distancing is also a necessity.
  • All staff should be checked every day upon arrival as well as patients with screening and taking of their temperature.  This and many other enhanced protocols will be forthcoming.
  • In my practice for over 20 years now, before treatment, patients are required to please floss, brush and rinse in the dental operatory with an antimicrobial mouthwash.
  • We will also be asking them to wash their hands or use a hand sanitizer.


  • Oral cancer causes and incidence is on the rise today for multiple reasons.
  • Historically, smoking and alcohol use was the major cause of oral squamous cell cancer
  • Today, HPV (Human Papilloma Virus) is now on the rise. It is a form of STD from oro-genital sex.
  • There is an HPV vaccine for pre-puberty children but not for adults
  • For adults, consistent lifetime examinations every six months or at every dental visit are key to early recognition. Early detection improves the chances of early treatment and better outcome.
  • Catching pre-cancerous lesions early can help avoid the incidence of oral cancer.
  • Late detection could lead to greater spread of the cancer cells, metastasis, lymph node involvement and much more extensive treatments including radical surgeries, chemotherapy and radiation.
  • Make sure that your dentist and dental hygienist performs a head and neck extra and intra-oral examination in addition to your regular dental and periodontal examinations at least twice a year and preferably four times a year or at your hygiene appointments.


  • My recommendations is an enhanced oral hygiene protocol to reduce the amount of viruses and bacteria in the mouth, esophagus and lungs.
  • This is common sense and not yet scientifically studied to completion and supported.


  • 1-Wash your hands for 20 seconds as recommended by the CDC and possibly your face before performing oral hygiene to remove any accumulated bacteria and viruses on your face and hands.
  • 2-Use a cap full of a 1% Hydrogen Peroxide rinse or antimicrobial mouthwash for your mouth and your toothbrush before and after flossing and brushing.
  • Utilize a disposable cup to put the anti-microbial mouthwash in.
  • 3-Use a new piece of dental floss every time you floss before brushing
  • Possibly use flossing tools to avoid putting one’s hands or fingers in their mouth
  • 4- Place your toothpaste on your brush and then brush your teeth as recommended by your dentist and dental hygienist.
  • 5-Rinse off your brush and your mouth without touching the faucet or use another disposable cup.
  • 6-Place your toothbrush back in the mouthwash or a separate cup of mouthwash and then set aside to continue the sanitizing of the toothbrush.
  • 7-Final rinse your mouth with a cap full of 1% Hydrogen Peroxide solution or your mouthwash for 20-30 seconds.  Spit out the mouthwash and rinse.
  • 8-Wash your hands afterwards.


  • Follow these steps at every oral hygiene interval and after eating.
  • Most importantly is to perform oral hygiene and anti-microbial mouthwashes before sleep to reduce bacterial and viral aspiration of contaminated saliva into the lungs.
  • Always avoid touching your face and mouth as much as possible.
  • Do not share your toothbrush with anyone else.


  • The previous enhanced oral hygiene steps that I have personally and professionally suggested are a common sense protocol.
  • They are subject to Scientific research for verification and modifications at present and in the future.
  • These steps are not being sponsored by any company and I receive no compensation of any kind for these suggestions.
  • My goal is to enhance oral hygiene to reduce bacteria, viruses and any microbes that we can and reduce oral and systemic diseases if at all possible.
  • Please consult with your personal dentist and dental hygienist for proper technique and your individual hygiene needs.

 Mouthwash ingredients to kill bacteria/viruses

  • Alcohol
  • Hydrogen Peroxide
  • Chlorhexidine

Dr. Laurence Rifkin displays a relentless passion for excellence in cosmetic dentistry, periodontal health, function and dento-facial aesthetics. He creates synergy between science, technology and fine arts. He also believes in a team approach to achieving optimal results for his patients, collaborating with both dental and medical specialists that he has personally hand-selected for their skill and integrity.


To listen to Dr. Laurence Rifkin’s interview at Aesthetic Insider™ Radio,   CLICK HERE!



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Readers can reach Dr. Rifkin at 310.273.0200. To learn more about Dr. Rifkin, visit and

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