To say the very least, the novel coronavirus has turned our lives upside-down. While living your best pandemic life, have you stopped to consider how the novel coronavirus or the pandemic lifestyle has affected your dental health?
Although more research is needed to understand the connections between COVID-19, the pandemic lifestyle, and observed oral health trends, it does seem clear that our dental well-being could be at stake.
How COVID-19 Could Be Harming Your Dental Health
Dental Issues Possibly Related to COVID-19
Gingival Inflammation - The cytokine storm  that occurs with COVID-19 incites an exaggerated immune response that leads to heightened inflammation throughout the body. In the mouth, this is leading to gingival inflammation similar to that caused by periodontal disease. For patients who have periodontal disease and contract COVID-19, the inflammation is even worse. In fact, periodontal disease is currently being studied as a potential risk factor for severe illness with COVID-19 .
Damaged Gingival Tissue and Oral Ulcerations - Patients with COVID-19 have been observed experiencing oral ulcers as the result of damaged tissue. These ulcers seem to be connected to the potentially deleterious effects the virus can have on blood vessels .
General Effects of the Pandemic on Dental Health
Dry Mouth - Whether you've had COVID-19 or not, you might find yourself suffering from xerostomia (dry mouth). Frequent mask-wearing is actually thought to be the reason for the significant increase in dry mouth complaints because people tend to breathe through their mouths and also drink less water when wearing a mask.
Bruxism and Fractured Teeth - Stress is a major risk factor for bruxism (clenching your jaw and grinding your teeth), and we're all under a considerable amount of stress these days. To reduce your bruxism, make a conscious effort to relax and consider wearing a mouthguard at night.
Dental Disease - Daily routines have changed. As a result, many people have dropped their good habits, like regular brushing, flossing, and dental exams. With preventative care reduced, patients are at an increased risk of periodontal disease and tooth decay.
Keep Up with Your Dental Care Routine
The best thing you can do to offset the negative effects of the pandemic is to keep up with your oral healthcare and hygiene routine. Continue brushing and flossing twice a day and don’t skip your regular dental exam and cleaning. At Dr. Christopher J. Fotinos Dr. Randy A. Rosales Cosmetic & General Dentistry, we’re taking extra precautions in our dental clinic to keep all of our patients and staff safe and healthy while continuing to provide complete dental care.