How can COVID-19 impact your gums?
We have all had experiences with COVID-19 at this point. This disease has shifted through our society and impacted industry, politics, medicine, and our day to day lives. COVID-19 can impact your immune system and make you more susceptible to other diseases and infections. So, we need to consider the health of your mouth and gums as we navigate the world we live in today.
What is Gum Disease
Gum disease affects millions of Americans. It is more common to have gum disease at some point in your life than not. Gum disease is usually due to some underlying infection, like a virus, fungi, or most commonly bacteria. The offending material usually enters your mouth while you are eating. Food left in between your teeth, and not removed by flossing, can fester and accumulate bacteria. The bacteria enters into your gum line and multiplies, causing infection and inflammation. If you are immune compromised, such as when you are combating COVID-19, an immune disorder, or expecting a child, you may be left vulnerable to such an infection. Infections that begin in your mouth can also travel through your blood stream and body, causing more severe problems elsewhere. If you have a history of gum disease and infections, diseases like COVID-19 may be especially dangerous.
COVID-19 and your gums
There is some evidence that says if you have a history of problems with gum infections, you may face a greater risk of respiratory failure when enduring COVID-19. The bacteria and inflammatory agents that have caused you pain in your gums before are still circulating in your body and blood, and may take the opportunity of vulnerability in your body to attack your respiratory system. This is new research and much is not known about the long term effects of COVID-19, but it is worth considering as you strive to make dental hygiene and important part of your routine.
Gum disease and your body
There is evidence linking your gum health, such as the presence of plaque, with many different parts of your body. There is a link between your dental health and mental health. There is evidence that higher levels of plaque in your mouth and on your teeth correlates with pulmonary disorders and plaque buildup in your arteries. Diseases that make your body more prone to infection, like diabetes or multiple sclerosis, can also make you more prone to gum disease and infection. Overall, take this research for what it is worth. There is no time lost taking preemptive measures to ensure your dental health is adequate. Time spent brushing, flossing, and caring for your teeth is time invested in the entire health of your body. You only get one smile, it is your responsibility to care for it properly, and it can have effects on your entire body.
Caring for your teeth
Brush at least twice a day, and if possible directly after meals. Make sure you are flossing regularly, once a day is great. Make sure you floss as much as necessary though, for instance after very sticky or sharp and crunchy foods. Make sure you are keeping regular dentist appointments and following up on your dental health. If you are experiencing gum inflammation or pain, reach out to your Dentist or consult with a hygienist about what else you can do.