Gum disease is extremely common in the United States. In fact, approximately half of all Americans over the age of 30 have it at one severity or another. Another thing that many people don’t realize is how strong the relationship between gum health and the wellbeing of the body is, including the immune system. Now that we are living in a pandemic, it is important that you know about the connection between gum disease and COVID-19 and well as what you can do to keep your gums healthy.
What Is the Connection Between Gum Disease and COVID-19?
In a study that is known as “The Mouth COVID Connections (MCC),” a link is suggested between the bacteria that is present in infections of the gums and COVID-19 related complications. The researchers in the study suggested that patients that have higher levels of a harmful protein, interleukin, that is elevated as a result of gum disease, may be at greater risk of suffering from life-threatening respiratory issues. A critical study in Germany tested COVID-19 patients for this protein and determined that patient who had higher levels of it were more likely to require a ventilator in order to breath.
Gum disease is also linked to other breathing ailments, like pneumonia and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. This can contribute to the symptoms of patients who have both periodontal disease and COVID-19.
How Do You Prevent Gum Disease?
While gum disease is very common, it is also easily preventable. Here are some tips to help prevent you from developing it:
- Brush twice a day: By brushing your teeth two times each day, you will remove food debris and plaque that is lingering in your mouth.
- Floss daily: Brushing isn’t enough on its own. There are some areas in your mouth where your toothbrush cannot quite reach. That’s why you need to use dental floss in order to clear away food particles, plaque, and bacteria from between the teeth and beneath the gumline.
- Use mouthwash: Using mouthwash can help to reduce plaque and remove remaining food particles that you missed while brushing and flossing.
- Know your risk: Some people are at higher risk than others when it comes to periodontal disease. Factors like age, smoking, diet, and genetics can all play a part. Talk to your dentist about your concerns.
- Don’t use tobacco products: Smoking doubles your risk of periodontal disease and is linked to oral cancer among many other health issues. Talk to your doctor, friends, and family about the best ways that you can quit for good.
- See your dentist: By detecting gum disease early, your dentist can treat it with periodontal therapy before it becomes too serious. You should be seeing your dentist every six months for a regular checkup.
Now that we are living during a pandemic, it is of utmost importance that you can caring for your oral health. This way, you can keep both your smile and the rest of your body healthy!
About the Author
Dr. Matthew Nawrocki earned his Doctor of Dental Medicine from the University of Florida College of Dentistry before completing a one-year fellowship in prosthodontics from the same school. Currently, he is actively involved with the American Dental Association, Florida Dental Association, American College of Prosthodontics, and the Florida Prosthodontic Association. If you struggle with gum disease, Dr. Nawrocki would be happy to help. For more information or to schedule an appointment at his office in Orange Park, visit his website or call (904) 272-1588.