The COVID-19 pandemic has forced dentistry–and other businesses–to rethink how they approach patient care. While most states are allowing care to resume with limitations, we need to examine the importance of this. We have learned that there is a relationship between periodontal disease and COVID-19. However, this does not mean that if you have periodontal disease you will get COVID-19. It simply means that were you to develop COVID-19, if you had periodontal disease you would have worse outcomes.
Good oral hygiene
When you practice and have good oral hygiene, it helps to prevent bacteria in the gums from entering the bloodstream and triggering inflammation. This prompts the release of the protein interleukin-6, which can destroy tissue and the linings in blood vessels and lungs, and reduce oxygen. Sources of inflammation, like gum disease, should be eliminated to prevent complications.
Then there are the oral pathogens of SARS-CoV-2, which is the virus that causes COVID-19. This can enter systemic circulation and cause upregulated production of inflammatory mediators leading to lethal cytokine storm. In other words, if you have periodontitis, you may be more prone to producing these proinflammatory cytokines, which is not good. Even worse, the oral bacteria can predispose individuals to pneumonia, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and, potentially, COVID-19 pulmonary complications.
Increased risk of complications
With COVID-19, everything is still so new and research continues to be conducted, but we do know that bad bacteria can increase risk. That is why it is important to continue to maintain your yearly visits to the dentist.
And between visits, make sure you are maintaining good oral hygiene, including brushing for two minutes twice a day. Professional deep cleanings should also be scheduled twice a year to maintain the best oral health possible.
Please contact us at Pinnacle Peak Family Dentistry to learn more about how you can continue to maintain optimal oral health during these trying times.