More Studies Are Showing That COVID-19 Can Cause Various Oral Health Issues And Even Damage Your Gums And Teeth!
While the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus and its emerging variants and subvariants continue to sweep through the world, researchers are finding out more about how damaging and deadly this virus truly is.
Although most people by now know that the COVID-19 disease can have horrible effects on your lungs and other organs, many may be surprised to learn that other parts of their body such as the oral cavity is also at risk of damage as well.
Since COVID acts as an infection, it rapidly spreads through your body, putting your health and well-being at risk with every breath. It can also in the same way affect your gums and teeth and other parts and tissues of the oral cavity.
Many new COVID-19-Oral-Health
studies show that the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus can in fact cause oral health problems as it spreads. From tooth discoloration to gum disease, there are many oral health effects of COVID-19. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7264805/
Although research is still ongoing, there have been numerous reports and stories regarding the strange impacts of this virus on oral health. COVID-19 patients and parents of COVID-19 patients have started to report that teeth have turned grey, become loose, and fallen out. Most of these patients have not had any previous oral health issues, and have only started noticing these symptoms after having COVID-19.
COVID-19 Affects The Blood Flow
The proper flow of blood is essential for regulating your oral health. There has been increasing research to show that COVID-19 heavily disrupts the flow of blood throughout the body, which can have dangerous long-term effects. Due to ongoing vasculature damage, the body cannot maintain all parts of the body as well as it used to, which means that parts of your body will start to decay. This is most commonly seen in the teeth, which can turn gray and fall out very quickly.
SARS -CoV-2 Binds To ACE2 Receptors
The human cells contain something called ACE2 receptors, which are proteins that help with vascular activities in the body. ACE2 receptors are found more often in the mouth and lungs, or the parts of the body involved with breathing. The coronavirus latches on to ACE2 receptors when it enters the body, making it easy for the disease to start doing damage to your oral health right away.
One of the virus’s favorite parts of the body to latch onto? Cavities! Research shows that cavities are a gateway for COVID-19. It is important to get treatment for your cavities and invest in oral health as quickly as you can so you can keep protecting yourself against this debilitating disease.
COVID-19 Causes Dry Mouth or Xerostomia
Studies are Showing That SARS-CoV-2 causes Dry Mouth or Xerostomia https://www.thailandmedical.news/news/study-published-in-journal-of-dental-research-adds-xerostomia-or-dry-mouth-as-new-covid-19-symptom-especially-infection-by-delta-variants
Xerostomia or dry mouth, occurs when there is inadequate saliva to keep the mouth moist. This makes it difficult to break down food, wash food particles away from the mouth, and swallow food.
Dry mouth may be an early symptom of COVID-19, and it was one of the most common oral symptoms reported by 108 people in a study. https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=3556665
The research authors say that dry mouth may be a direct effect of the SARS-CoV-2 virus infecting and damaging the salivary glands. It may also occur due to poor oral hygiene or as a side effect of COVID-19 treatment.
Typically, without treatment, dry mouth can increase the risk of tooth decay and infection in the mouth.
COVID-19 Can Cause Oral Ulcers
Typical like all other viral infections, SARS-CoV-2 impairs the immune system and makes a person susceptible to other secondary conditions.
Certain individuals recovering from a COVID-19 infection have observed ulcers in their mouth. For some, doctors have found these ulcers to be thrush-like, while others have seemed fairly unspecific. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7280113/
An oral ulcer may develop as a white patch on the tongue, gums, or roof of the mouth.
Typical symptoms include:
-white or red bumps in the mouth
-discomfort while eating and drinking
-a burning sensation
Normally mouth ulcers tend to resolve on their own in 1–2 weeks. A person should consult a doctor if ulcers persist for longer than 3 weeks, as this could indicate another opportunistic infection.
Alternatively, a local pharmacist can recommend some simple measures to treat an ulcer a home. These measures could take the form of an antimicrobial mouthwash, a topical gel or cream, medicated lozenges, or a mouth spray.
COVID-19 Could Also Cause Bruxism And Cracked Teeth
The American Dental Association reported that dentists have noted a 59% increase in teeth grinding, or bruxism, and a 53% increase in chipped and cracked teeth since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Published studies also support the occurrence of this. https://www.mdpi.com/2077-0383/9/10/3250
Some studies suggest that this can occur as a result of higher anxiety levels during the pandemic and poor posture resulting from a work-from-home environment.
The dental experts explain that anxiety and poor posture can cause people to clench their jaw and grind their teeth. These are involuntary behaviors that stem from added stress. The result is increased pressure on the teeth that weakens them and makes them more prone to crack.
Cases of chipped or cracked teeth have also occurred in people with severe COVID-19. One study suggests that people in critical care, such as those who need ventilators, experience a range of complications, including chipped teeth. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7261657/
COVID-19 Also Affects The Saliva Glands
Numerous studies have already shown that the SARS-CoV-2 virus can also affect the salivary glands and cause a variety of oral health issues. https://www.thailandmedical.news/news/breaking-covid-19-news-study-confirms-that-sars-cov-2-infects-and-replicates-in-the-salivary-glands-and-that-the-mouth-is-also-a-point-of-direct-entry
Studies have also shown that the salivary glands can be reservoirs for the SARS-C0V-2 virus.
COVID-19 Can Cause Gum Disease or Gingivitis
Gingivitis refers to inflammation of the gums.
Typical symptoms of gingivitis include:
-red, swollen gums
-bleeding gums when brushing or flossing
-an unpleasant taste in the mouth
Bad oral hygiene can lead to the accumulation of bacteria that stick to the teeth and form dental plaque. This is a common cause of gingivitis.
The study team of one 2021 case report speculate that having a debilitating disease such as COVID-19 may mean that a person is less likely to practice good oral hygiene. This enables dental plaque to grow, which increases the risk of gingivitis. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7753817/
The researchers also suggest that bleeding gums may be a symptom of COVID-19. They observed that symptoms of gingivitis reduced after COVID-19 subsided.
There are other studies showing links between gum disease and COVID-19.
With or without COVID, your oral health
is something that you need to maintain to prevent decay or the spread of disease. New studies underway are showing that the SARS-CoV-2 virus can cause broken, loose, and decaying teeth in a matter of months. The lack of blood flow to the mouth can weaken the gums, making them susceptible to disease.
Proper and frequent dental checkups are highly advised during this pandemic but with proper safety protocols in place for both dental staff and patients.
Thailand Medical News will be providing more updates on ongoing research regarding COVID-19 and oral health.
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