IS THERE A LINK BETWEEN GUM DISEASE AND COVID-19?
There has always been a link between oral health and overall health and wellness. Now a California dental surgeon believes there is a link between gum disease and severe COVID-19 complications. Many people are avoiding the dentist because they worry about coronavirus exposure, but now it’s more important than ever to make sure your teeth and gums are healthy.
Gum Disease Feeds COVID-19
Dr. Shervin Molayem, a Beverly Hills dental surgeon, noticed that when dental offices began reopening after the initial wave of COVID-19, many patients had been severely neglecting their teeth. Stress, depression, changing habits, and missed dental appointments are all possible factors in this neglect. Now is one of the worst times to ignore the health of your teeth.
Molayem initiated a study to examine the links between gum disease and COVID-19. The results of his research suggest that gum disease patients who have high levels of interleukin 6 (IL-6) – an inflammatory marker – when infected with COVID-19 are far more likely to suffer from severe respiratory problems and be hospitalized.
Numerous studies have long shown that the inflammation present in gum disease is connected to a person’s long-term risk of heart disease. Molayem’s theory is that COVID-19 symptoms are also linked to inflammation. “When we get plaque in our mouths and into our gums, what that does is the IL-6 and other inflammatory proteins get released locally,” the dentist says. These proteins travel quickly to the lining of the lungs and other organs. He says a German study that connects high levels of IL-6 in critically ill COVID-19 patients spurred his own research. “It showed that these IL-6 levels, when over 80, are a predictor for being on a ventilator.”
Protect Your Teeth and Gums
Keeping your teeth clean all the time is so important. Brushing twice a day, flossing daily, and seeing your dentist every six months for a dental cleaning and checkup will help protect you from oral health problems and improve your overall health and wellness.
Now, more than ever, it’s essential to see your dentist for your biannual visit so you can be checked for gum disease, other infections, tooth decay, and more. Identifying these problems quickly before they have a chance to grow and addressing them immediately prevents complications from developing. Keeping a healthy mouth also, if the California dentist’s research is on point, can keep you from experiencing some of the worst COVID-19 symptoms should you develop the disease.
Getting teeth cleanings lowers inflammation. Not only does it help ward off coronavirus complications, studies have shown that patients with other respiratory infections like pneumonia have improved symptoms after a teeth cleaning.
The New Dental Normal
Your Fort Lauderdale dentist is taking all precautions to keep every patient safe, including wearing additional protective gear, minimizing the number of people in the office at one time, monitoring all patients and staff for symptoms of coronavirus, and increasing cleaning frequency. You can feel safe and well cared for at the Premier Smile Center. Contact us today to schedule your cleaning and checkup with Dr. Charmaine Johnson.