Is There a Connection Between Oral Health and COVID-19?

With the COVID-19 pandemic, many people are trying to stay home as much as possible and are avoiding any appointments they feel could be unnecessary. But should you avoid seeing your dentist because of the risk of COVID-19?

A paper published in the British Dental Journal suggests otherwise.

Dentists have long known about how your oral health is tied to the health of your entire body. In the paper by Victoria Sampson, she looks into the ways that many of COVID-19’s serious complications may be related to oral bacteria.

What serious complications are connected with COVID-19?

Some of the most common serious complications of COVID-19 are:

  • Acute respiratory distress syndrome
  • Pneumonia
  • Sepsis
  • Septic shock
  • Blood clots

These complications are actually more likely to result in death than COVID-19 itself. While COVID-19 is a virus, many of these complications are actually due to bacteria, and studies are showing that 80% of ICU patients are being found to have high levels of dangerous bacteria, requiring antibiotic treatment. When it comes to the severity of COVID-19 infections, this suggests that bacteria play a big role.

How is the mouth connected to these complications?

Oral bacteria have a good chance of making their way into the respiratory tract. Many of the same types of bacteria in periodontal disease can cause or worsen conditions such as sepsis or pneumonia.

This is where oral health and hygiene come in. Good oral hygiene can lessen the exchange of bad bacteria between the mouth and lungs. There are a number of studies that have found that improved oral health could reduce the chances of ventilator-associated pneumonia in ICU patients and help prevent the risk of bacterial superinfection.

Don’t put off caring for your oral health!

While it may be scary to visit the dentist during COVID-19, now is the time to make sure you’re in the best oral health possible. A healthy mouth may reduce your risk of COVID-19 complications, and is good for your body overall.

If you’re overdue for an appointment or have an oral concern you’d like looked into, use our directory to find a dentist near you and schedule your next visit.