With the COVID-19 situation, there are many who prefer to keep from leaving their homes as much as possible and are avoiding any potentially unnecessary appointments. Considering that, is it wise to put off visits to the dentist due to the risk of getting COVID-19?
The British Dental Journal recently published a paper that suggests that this is a bad idea.
Dentists have known for a long time now about the oral-systemic connection—the link between the health of the mouth and the wellbeing of the entire body.
The paper by Victoria Sampson examines how many of the COVID-19 virus’s more serious complications could be related to oral bacteria.
What complications are related to COVID-19?
These dangerous complications include:
- ARDS (acute respiratory distress syndrome)
- Septic shock
- Blood clots
These complications are actually more likely to cause death than COVID-19 itself. COVID-19 is a virus, but many of these complications are actually due to bacteria, and studies are revealing that eighty percent of patients in the ICU from COVID have high levels of harmful bacteria, necessitating antibiotic treatment. This suggests that bacteria play a big part in the severity of COVID-19 cases.
In what ways is the mouth related to complications of COVID-19?
Oral bacteria have a relatively high chance of making their way to the respiratory tract. The same varieties of bacteria found in periodontitis may worsen or cause health conditions like sepsis or pneumonia.
This is where the need for oral health and hygiene comes in. Proper oral hygiene can lessen the movement of bad bacteria between the mouth and lungs. Studies have found that better oral health can lower the chances of ventilator-associated pneumonia in ICU patients and help prevent bacterial superinfection.
Don’t stop going to the dentist!
While it may be scary to have a dental visit during COVID-19, now is the right time to make sure that you have the best oral health you can. Having good oral health is good for the health of your entire body, and may lower your risk of COVID-19-related complications.
If you have an oral issue you’d like checked out, or are overdue for a visit, get in touch with us to schedule your next appointment.