The Coronavirus has caused delays in routine dental care and can be a big threat to an individual’s health. If ignored completely oral disease and bacteria can lead to more serious health problems in the body.
Most chronic dental conditions begin as an irritation that progresses to different levels of discomfort and pain. Normally, these conditions can be easily identified and treated by a dentist.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention suspended all routine dental care to limit exposure and conserve Personal Protective Equipment due to the Coronavirus pandemic. The result was many oral health conditions have gone untreated or undiagnosed for the past 3 months. Dental procedures in the future may be more extensive, more costly and the outcomes more expensive if problems are left undiagnosed and untreated.
Patients’ overall health may suffer too. Many chronic medical conditions like Periodontitis are found in the mouth and are first discovered by a dentist.
Periodontitis or Advanced Gum Disease is a bacteria-caused inflammation in the gums that result in bleeding when gum tissues rupture. The bacteria in the blood is swallowed and contaminates the bloodstream, transporting inflammation throughout the body, This may lead to infections that can damage multiple organ systems.
Periodontitis and diabetes are closely associated as well. Controlling gum disease may help improve blood glucose levels in diabetic patients, but high blood sugar levels worsen outcomes for periodontal disease. Well-controlled diabetes does not significantly increase the risk for periodontitis, but it rises exponentially as blood sugar increases. This may result in poor wound healing and increases the chance for oral infections.
Heart disease occurs when a build up of inflammatory plaque obstructs blood vessels, cutting off the oxygen supply to the body and causing heart attacks and strokes.
No direct connection between gum disease and heart disease has been proven. Although, people with gum disease are 2-3 times more likely to have a heart attack or cardiovascular event. The growing hypothesis is bacteria from Periodontitis can access the body’s circulatory system and penetrate epithelial cells lining the inside of the blood vessels. One study in particular found about 40% of heart lesions contain remnants of periodontal pathogens normally only found in the mouth.
Conditions such as oral cancers, immunocompromised diseases and “pregnancy gingivitis” are usually discovered by a dentist before the patient is aware of any abnormality. In the absence of routine dental care and dental cleanings during the pandemic, many of these oral conditions may be missed, treatment delayed and possibly worsen.
Don’t let the Coronavirus threaten your health. Patients can only do so much on their own. Schedule a routine dental exam today and take the proactive approach to your health!
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