Ditching the dentist may impact severity of COVID infection

As more people choose to avoid dental appointments it could come at a price to overall health

Ditching the dentist may impact severity of COVID infection
Oral health connection to COVID-19 (Source: Sam Bauman WTOC)

RINCON, Ga. (WTOC) - It may come as no surprise but many people have been putting off going to the dentist during the pandemic.

But delaying that trip is not only bad for your oral health but could even make COVID-19 that much more dangerous.

“There is definitely a link between oral hygiene and systemic health,” said Dr. Misty Seale of iHeart Dental in Rincon.

Dr. Seale says it’s an important piece of our overall health that many are letting slip.

“People have been neglecting their mouth and neglecting their teeth.”

Which may not seem like a big deal to some, but she says it doesn’t take long for that small tooth ache to become something much worse.

“The more infection and gum disease that you have the more it affects your body. There’s also a causal link between gum disease, heart disease and also lung disease as well.”

In fact, according to a recent study in the Journal of Clinical Periodontology, poor oral health could have a direct connection to the severity of COVID-19 symptoms.

“They found that COVID-19 patients are three times more likely to receive complications if they have gum disease,” said Dr. Seale.

Association between periodontitis and severity of COVID‐19 infection: A case–control study
Association between periodontitis and severity of COVID‐19 infection: A case–control study (Source: Journal of Clinical Periodontology)

While having untreated dental diseases can make things worse if you catch COVID-19, the chances of getting COVID-19 at the dentist’s office is pretty rare, because they’re already used to controlling infections.

“We’ve been doing infection control the whole time, doing PPE and other things. That’s pretty standard in the dental field.”

So, next time you think about ditching the dentist, consider what you might be risking.

To see the full study from The Journal of Clinical Periodontology click here.

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