September 7, 2020
There are currently millions of people living with some form of gum disease. What starts as bacteria attacking the soft oral tissue can quickly spread to the bone and teeth, as well as throughout the body, resulting in oral, cardiovascular, respiratory, and even neurological problems. Because COVID-19 remains a threat to the global population, individuals suffering from gum disease in North Sarasota are much more susceptible to this highly contagious virus, especially if left untreated. What can be done to combat this potential problem? A local dentist explains why it’s crucial to keep these six-month dental appointments even amid the COVID-19 crisis.
How Gum Disease Can Lead to COVID-19 Complications
According to a recent study performed by Dr. Shervin Molayem, COVID-19 is more severe in patients living with inflammation caused by gum disease. The reason is the bacteria that attack the soft oral tissue can spread throughout the body. When it does, it produces the IL-6 protein, which causes swelling, and when present at high levels, it raises the risk of respiratory complications and/or failure.
COVID-19 is known to cause difficulty breathing. When a person contracts the virus and is suffering from advanced periodontitis, researchers state, “bacterial plaque can harbor respiratory and periodontal pathogens.” As a result, it can potentially heighten the mortality rate, especially if the individual is also experiencing cardiovascular disease and/or diabetes.
The Benefit of Seeing Your Dentist During This Time
While it might seem a bit confusing, one effective way to lower your risk of contracting COVID-19 is to schedule a dental checkup and cleaning with a dentist in North Sarasota. Although it may appear to be an unsafe maneuver right now due to the uncertainty of cleanliness and sanitation in a dentist’s office, most dental professionals are implementing additional health and safety protocols to better protect patients and staff (i.e. wearing personal protective equipment, increasing sanitation efforts, practicing social distancing, minimizing the number of patients seen each day, etc.).
By keeping these six-month dental exams, you can not only lower your risk of developing gum disease by having plaque and tartar accumulations removed, but it will also decrease your chances of contracting COVID-19.
Apart from seeing your dentist twice a year, it is also advantageous to maintain a good oral hygiene routine at home by brushing twice daily for two minutes, using fluoride toothpaste, and rinsing with a mouthwash that is designed to combat gingivitis.
It is important to stay safe during this time. While a face mask and social distancing are necessary to prevent the spread of COVID-19, staying on top of your oral health will not only protect you but others around you, too.
About the Author
Dr. Warren Hoffman earned a Bachelor of Arts in Biology from SUNY Binghamton before going on to attend dental school in Baltimore, Maryland. Receiving his Doctor of Dental Surgery degree, he completed an externship during his senior year, providing dental services to stationed members of the United States Coast Guard in Honolulu, Hawaii. At Parkway Ridge Dental, he and his team of dental professionals want you to have a beautiful, healthy smile, which is why they offer periodontal therapy for individuals with gum disease. To learn how this common condition can affect more than just your oral health, or for questions about our services, contact us at (941) 358-8830.