Oral Hygiene Habits and Possible Transmission of COVID-19 Among Cohabitants

Maria Jose Gonzalez-Olmo; Bendicion Delgado-Ramos; Ana Ruiz-Guillen; Martin Romero-Maroto; Maria Carrillo-Diaz


BMC Oral Health. 2020;20(286) 

In This Article


The sample consisted of 145 (48%) men and 157 (52%) women with an average age of 39.25 (± 9.94).

In terms of educational levels for the total sample, 34.1% had completed primary school, 29.8% had completed secondary school and 36.1% had obtained a university degree. 59.6% of the sample corresponds to a medium socio-economic level.

56.3% of the sample had a person living with them affected by COVID-19 and positive in a PCR test.

Oral Hygiene Habits

Only 33.8% brushed their teeth 2 or more times every day, 20.2% flossed every day, 15.2% used a daily rinse and 17.2% brushed their tongue every day.

We found significant differences in oral hygiene measures for tongue brushing (t = 2.202; p = 0.029*). This hygiene measure was more used in the group in which there was no transmission of the disease to other members of the home. No significant differences in these measures were found in terms of sex. Table 1

Care and Control of Disinfection of the Dental Environment

97% of the sample did not share the use of the toothbrush, but 64.2% used the same container to hold the toothbrushes, 50.3% used the same toothpaste, 80.5% put the toothbrush upright, 55.6% used a cap for the brush, only 8.6% of the sample dipped the brush in bleach after use, 36. 4% closed the toilet lid before flushing and only 16.2% did not change the brush after testing positive for PCR.

Significant differences were found between the group in which there was no intrafamily cross-transmission and in which there was cross-transmission for shared toothbrush use (x 2(1) = 4.006; p = 0.045*). Although shared use was a minority in this group (4.7%), significant differences were also found for the use of the same container (x 21) = 18.550; p = 0.000**), shared use of toothpaste (x 2(1) = 9.720; p = 0.002**), toothbrush disinfection with bleach (x 2(1) = 7.532; p = 0.006**), toilet lid closure (x 2(1) = 23.062; p = 0.000**) and brush change after PCR + (x 2(1) = 4.077; p = 0.043*). See Table 1.

When the association between the variables of oral hygiene and care and control of disinfection of the dental environment was explored, significant differences were found between the subjects who performed brushing hygiene with bleach and those who did not with respect to the use of dental floss (p = 0.028*) and tongue hygiene (p = 0.035*). Differences were also found between subjects who lowered the toilet seat and subjects who had tongue hygiene (p = 0.020*). Table 2

Gender Differences for the Study Variables

The differences in these measures in terms of gender were significant for personal hygiene or disinfection measures, such as disinfection with toothbrush bleach (x 2(1) = 7.087; p = 0.008**), closing the toilet lid (x 2(1) = 5.518; p = 0.019*) and changing the brush after PCR + (x 2(1) = 4.090; p = 0.043*). These measures were used more in women than in men with a significant difference.