Thanks to emerging vaccines and decreases in COVID-19 cases, we are all hopeful that the pandemic is in its final months. For now, however, it remains a serious public health threat. You should do everything you possibly can to protect yourself! Of course, washing your hands, wearing a face covering, and practicing physical distancing can all help with that. But did you know that your gum health may also have an impact on how the coronavirus affects you? Let’s talk about the link between gum disease and COVID-19.
The Research: Gum Disease Worsens COVID-19
A study published in October of 2020 examined data that established a link between unhealthy gums and a heightened risk of respiratory failure in hospitalized COVID-19 patients. It was discovered that the individuals with gum problems had elevated levels of a particular type of protein (IL-6), which was in turn associated with an increased chance that a patient would require a ventilator to breathe. In fact, patients with an IL-6 level above 80 picograms per milliliter were a whopping 22 times more likely to suffer acute respiratory complications.
It is also sobering to note that the groups who are most prone to gum disease, including seniors, are also at a heightened risk of other conditions that may make them more vulnerable to severe COVID-19 complications. For example, they might have pre-existing respiratory problems, diabetes, or other systemic health concerns. Combined with gum disease and COVID-19, such issues can all contribute to a truly life-threatening situation.
The conductor of the study, an LA-based dental surgeon named Dr. Shervin Molayem, noted, “As the death toll [from COVID-19] keeps climbing, the CDC now predicts the virus will be among the leading causes of death in the United States, just behind heart disease and cancer. Periodontitis can make it even deadlier, if you’re worried that you may have gum disease, your next trip to the dentist may actually save your life.”
What You Can Do
If you have noticed any signs of gum disease, such as red, bleeding, or swollen gums, it is certainly worth your time to visit your dentist in Marshall. They will examine your mouth and may recommend a form of periodontal therapy to improve your oral health. Scaling and root planing, which is a deep cleaning, is one of the most common ways in which dentists treat mild to moderate gum disease.
Also, do not become unduly worried that you might contract COVID-19 during your dental appointment. Your local oral health team adheres to a strict dental safety protocol in Marshall that reduces the risk of infection to almost nothing.
Gum disease has always been a cause for concern, but it is more dangerous than ever during the COVID-19 pandemic. Caring for your oral health could save your life!
Meet the Dentist
Dr. Charles Parker has been serving the Marshall community for approximately 40 years. He specializes in providing high-quality dentures, but his skills extend into other areas as well, including gum disease treatment and prevention. If you would like to learn more about Dr. Parker’s oral health services or the safety measures he is taking to fight COVID-19, contact our office at 903-935-6351.