There is no denying that the past 12 months have been incredibly difficult for many people in many different ways. The impact of COVID-19 has been widespread, and there have been more effects than a lot of people realize. For example, one area that COVID-19 has caused havoc is with regard to our dental health. Many people have scheduled appointments with their periodontist because they have suffered oral health issues due to coronavirus. With that being said, in this blog post, we are going to take a look at the impact of COVID-19 on oral health so that you can get a better understanding.
COVID-19 causes stress, and stress is bad for oral health
There is only one place to begin when it comes to the impact of the pandemic on our health, and this is with stress. This has been an incredibly stressful time for a lot of people. From worries about job security to the loss of a loved one, there are many heartaches that families and individuals have experienced during the past year. The sheer mental battle of struggling with the unknown and being unable to plan for the future can be too much to handle for many, resulting in huge amounts of stress.
Stress can impact the body in so many ways. One way that it can do so is by causing oral health issues. A lot of people grind their teeth in their sleep when they are stressed. This can result in cracked and chipped teeth, as well as wearing down your enamel. Without treatment, the issue can get worse and worse. Your dentist may recommend that you wear a mouth guard that has been specifically designed for you to protect your teeth while you are sleeping.
Of course, it can be difficult to recognize that you’re grinding your teeth when you are sleeping. How are you supposed to know? Often, it is your partner that will realize first. However, you may find that you end up waking yourself up in your sleep because of the grinding sound. Other symptoms include jaw pain and toothache when you wake up. The pain can often spread to other areas of the face.
We have also noticed that more people are suffering from dry mouth than ever before. There are a number of different reasons why dry mouth can happen. However, when it comes to the pandemic, it is very likely that this has happened because we’re wearing masks so much! Evidence indicates that mouth breathing will desiccate oral tissues, which causes halitosis (bad breath) and an increase in the unhealthy bacteria in the mouth.
However, there does need to be more research regarding the link between COVID-19 and xerostomia, as it is not very well-understood at the moment. Clinicians need to carry out more research to determine the causal mechanisms that underlie the correlation. Nevertheless, the increase in the prevalence of dry mouth is concerning for some, as this can lead to an increase in both caries and infections as a consequence.
We have also seen some worrying research regarding the link between gum disease and COVID-19. It has been indicated that those with gum disease are more likely to experience severe COVID-19. This is a study that was published in the Journal of Clinical Periodontology. The research revealed that gum disease is a significant risk factor for coronavirus, which is worrying when you consider the fact that as many as half of the adults in America have this condition.
There were 568 patients that were involved in the study. They were divided into two groups. In one group, there were those that only had mild symptoms. The second group was individuals who faced complications like ventilation and ICU admission. The research found that patients with COVID-19 were nine times more likely to die if they had gum disease. They were also 3.5 times more likely to be admitted to ICU than patients who did not have any signs of dental problems. Furthermore, they were 4.5 times more likely to need a ventilator.
When you take this research into consideration, it is not difficult to see why people are concerned regarding the link between gum disease and coronavirus. If you are someone who suffers from gum disease, it certainly makes sense to schedule an appointment with Dr. Brown sooner rather than later to begin treatment. Some of the signs of gum disease are as follows:
- Bad breath
- Gums that bleed with ease
- Pus between your gums and teeth
- Puffy or swollen gums
- Spitting out blood when flossing or brushing your teeth
- Bright red or purplish gums
- Gums that feel tender when you touch them
Oral ulcerations and gingival tissue breakdown
Evidence indicates that COVID-19 causes damage to the blood vessels within our body, which include the blood vessels that supply the mouth. This could end up resulting in an increase in oral ulcerations and gingival breakdown.
One group that works to find out more about the mechanism of cardiovascular disease, The Angiogenesis Foundation, believes that the endothelial cells that line blood vessels are susceptible to SARS-CoV-2 because of carrying the ACE-2 receptor. When they are penetrated by the virus, they end up becoming damaged, which deprives the body’s downstream areas of oxygen. In the mouth, the procedure manifests as dying gum tissue and ulcerations. The symptoms become worse because of the inflammation that COVID-19 induces.
Contact The Perio Group today for the treatment you need
As you can see, there are many different ways that COVID-19 has impacted oral health. If you have experienced any dental issues relating to COVID-19, we will be happy to provide you with the treatment you need. Please do not hesitate to get in touch to schedule an appointment with Dr. Brown and The Perio Group team for related treatment.