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September 28, 2020

Is COVID-19 Linked to Gum Disease?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: — dr_olsen @ 8:23 pm

Dentist holding a sign for gum disease in Ann Arbor. As the country fights the COVID-19 pandemic, you’ve spent more time at home to help combat the spread of the virus. You might have even skipped your routine appointment with your dentist in Ann Arbor for a cleaning and checkup. As the country reopens, you can schedule your appointment, but is it safe? Dental offices are some of the cleanest places, so you have nothing to fear. Not to mention, a healthy smile is more important than ever to promote a strong immune system to ward off the virus.

Is Oral Health Linked to COVID-19?

Wearing a mask, practicing social distancing, and keeping your hands clean aren’t the only ways you can help lessen your risk of coronavirus. Instead, research conducted by an oral surgeon found the virus is more severe in patients who have inflammation caused by gum disease. This is an infection that occurs in the gingival tissue from bacteria found in plaque and tartar buildup from poor oral hygiene habits.

The bacteria from the infection can spread into the bloodstream through the pressure of regular chewing. As it circulates throughout the body, it spreads IL-6 protein, which is inflammatory. High levels of the protein can be a predictor for respiratory failure. In fact, research shows there is a 22 times increased risk for respiratory complications.

Will Gum Disease Increase My Risk of COVID-19 Complications?

Although there’s much to learn about coronavirus, we know some people experience more severe symptoms than others, such as those who have pre-existing conditions. Gum disease is linked to several of the conditions, including heart disease and diabetes, which are connected to a higher mortality rate for COVID-19.

Can a Healthy Smile Prevent COVID-19?

Researchers are advising better periodontal screenings and treatments to reduce the risk of serious complications of COVID-19. Good oral hygiene is more important than ever to decrease systemic inflammation to lower the risk of pre-existing conditions that can lead to severe symptoms of the virus. Thankfully, there are several things you can do to keep your gums healthy:

  • Use a soft-bristled toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste to brush your teeth at least twice a day.
  • Clean all surfaces of your teeth for at least 2-minutes each session.
  • Floss in between each tooth nightly.
  • Visit your dentist in Ann Arbor at least twice a year for a cleaning and checkup.
  • Don’t smoke or use tobacco.
  • Don’t drink alcohol in excess.
  • Eat a balanced diet that’s limited in sugars and starches.

Combat the Spread of COVID-19

You can help protect yourself from COVID-19 complications by committing to a healthy smile. If you have signs of gum disease, don’t hesitate to contact your dentist for periodontal therapy.

About Dr. James Olsen

Dr. James Olsen offers state-of-the-art dental care to the community using the latest innovations in dentistry. He completes over 100 hours of continuing education each year to provide exceptional care. He has undergone advanced training in many areas of specialty, including periodontal therapy. If you have symptoms of gum disease, contact our office today to schedule an appointment.  

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