While vaccination rates are rising, it’s still important to be mindful and aware of the lingering presence of coronavirus as we approach the holiday season. It’s also critical to be educated about the impacts that contracting COVID-19 can have on our oral health conditions. Throughout the course of the past 18 months, organizations like the ADA and CDC have been tracking the effects that COVID-19 is having on oral health. It is especially imperative to acknowledge the strong link between oral health and our overall health.
Here is a glimpse into certain factors, and the connection between coronavirus and dental health:
Since the onset of the pandemic, many of us have endured higher levels of stress; physically, mentally and emotionally. Stress impacts the body in many ways, and oral health is one of them. When we’re stressed, some of us may grind our teeth – especially in our sleep – and regularly performing this action can lead to a cracked or chipped tooth.
Many of us are experiencing higher levels of dry mouth due to mask wearing. Dry mouth can lead to halitosis, or bad breath, as well as an increase in the unhealthy bacteria found in our mouths. To combat this, make sure that you stay hydrated, brush and floss daily, use mouthwash, and stay away from tobacco products.
Not only is gum disease linked to health conditions like diabetes, cardiovascular issues and Alzheimer’s, it’s now also connected to COVID-19. A study published in the Journal of Clinical Periodontology indicated that those with gum disease are more likely to experience a more severe case of the virus. These findings signify the importance of diligent oral health care throughout the duration of the pandemic, and beyond. According to Dr. James G. Wilson “maintaining healthy teeth and gums in an effort to avoid developing or worsening periodontal disease is absolutely crucial in the midst of a global pandemic like COVID-19, which is also known to trigger an inflammatory response.”
An oral ulceration is a painful sore that can be found on the inner lips, gums, tongue, roof of the mouth, or throat and that may interfere with eating (i.e. a canker sore). Evidence from the NCBI indicates that COVID-19 causes damage to the blood vessels within our body; this includes the blood vessels that supply the mouth. The damage has the potential to result in an increase in oral ulcerations and gingival breakdown.
Loss of Taste & Smell
COVID-19 has been linked to anosmia, the loss of smell, which works with the sense of taste to give us flavor. According to Mayo Clinic, COVID-19 affects taste and smell due to “damage to the cells that support and assist the olfactory neurons, called sustentacular cells. These cells can regenerate from stem cells, which may explain why smell recovers quickly in most cases.”
If you have any questions about COVID-19 and your oral health, feel free to contact us; we’ll do our best to assist you based on the information that we have about the coronavirus and oral health care.