The world has changed considerably over the past 18 months due to the Covid-19 pandemic. What you may be unaware of is that a clearer association exist between oral health and covid-19 infections.
In this column, we will discuss how periodontal disease can make one more susceptible to contracting Covid-19 virus and possibly even worsen their condition.
Periodontal Disease and COVID-19 are both known to cause systemic inflammation. The highly acclaimed Journal of Clinical Periodontology concluded that there is a strong connection between coronavirus and gum disease. Also, it continues that there is a link between severe COVID-19-related complications and gum disease.
The American Academy of Periodontology, the leading organization of periodontists, stated that these findings show just how important diligent and proactive oral care should be, especially during the pandemic. Periodontal disease expresses itself through symptoms such as bad breath and bleeding gums. If it is not treated, it can end up causing tooth loss. Research carried out by the CDC and the American Academy of Periodontology, indicated that up to half of the adults in the United States over the age of 30-years-old have some type of periodontal disease. Periodontal disease has been linked to a number of other serious diseases and conditions other than COVID-19, such as; Alzheimers, heart disease diabetes and respiratory diseases.
Our medical/dental literature speaks to further studies of the relationship between COVID-19 and periodontal disease. A study done in July of 2020 in Qatar examined patient cases with severe complications caused by COVID-19, the need for ventilation, emergency room admissions and associated deaths. The findings from the study of 568 patients were assessed. Of those patients, those with the most severe cases of gum disease, were at least (3) three times more likely to experience complications from coronavirus. In addition to this, patients with COVID-19 and periodontal disease showed raised levels of protein markers in the blood associated with worsened disease outcomes, including C-reactive protein and increased white blood cells.
Treating periodontal disease has always been important to avoid early tooth loss. See critical signs and indications that you should be looking for:
- Pus between your gums and your teeth
- Bad breath
- Spitting out blood when you floss or brush your teeth
- Gums that bleed easily
- Gums that feel sore or tender
- A toothbrush that appears pink during your toothbrushing
- Puffy or swollen gums
Periodontal disease and Covid-19 are linked because of germs that enter our bodies and have systemic effects. Research is ongoing that continue to add more value to our understanding of the relationship between Covid-19 and Periodontal disease. What we are certain of is that you have a responsibility to get the facts and safeguard your health.
Because, what starts in your mouth does not remain there!
Dr. Kendal V. O. Major is Founder and CEO of Center for Specialized Dentistry which is a comprehensive family dental practice operating in Nassau and Freeport. He is the first Bahamian Specialist in gum diseases and dental implants since 1989. He also is a certified Fast braces provider. His practice is located at 89 Collins Avenue, Nassau at (242)325-5165 or [email protected]