As we learn about COVID-19, the virus is being associated to many medical complications in patients that have been infected. Just as gum disease is associated with severe outcomes of many medical conditions, recent studies found an association between severe COVID-19 outcomes and oral health.
Periodontal disease (commonly known as gum disease) can affect the state of your whole body. Studies have shown a definitive link between your oral health and your general health. The facts are: Bacteria in your mouth travel to other parts of your body via your blood stream. Gum Disease increases the risk of Head and Neck Cancer. People with gum disease are twice as likely to die from Heart Disease and three times as likely to die from Stroke. Research has found association between Gum Disease and Rheumatoid Arthritis. Diabetes and Bleeding Gums increase your risk of Premature Death by 400-700%. Gum Disease increases Pancreatic and Kidney Disease.
Obviously, Bacterial Infections via the blood stream will lower your immune response to any infection. Besides the blood stream, inhaling bacteria from the mouth and throat can lead to Pneumonia. Gum Disease creates a dangerous source of bacteria that can be inhaled into the lung. As oral bacteria negatively affect lung function it increases the risk of pneumonia and potentially COVID-19 related pulmonary complications.
But, is dentistry safe during COVID-19? Dentistry was named one of the most at-risk professions for infection. That we have had a far lower prevalence of infection compared to other health professions is not a coincidence. Infection control and sterilization has always been at the front of protecting our patients and dental team. Disposable wraps, disinfecting surfaces, eye protection, hand wash and gloves have been a stable. All city water entering our patient’s oral cavity continues to go through three filters and UV light before entering our intra-oral water system. What we have added is the attempt to disinfect every nook and cranny of our working environment. This is accomplished through aerosol reduction, fogging every room at night, and increased air filtration - HEPA filtration and UVGI light exposure. Enhanced face protection, pre-screening our team and guests, social distancing by eliminating wait time in the office has allowed us to safely treat our patients while keeping our dental team safe from COVID-19 during this continued pandemic.
Controlling Periodontal Disease and focusing on prevention would not only improve patients’ overall health but could decrease intensive care and mechanical ventilation of COVID-19 patients.
If you would like further information please contact our office: