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How good oral health may lower the risk of Covid infection

New research is emerging that may suggest a link between gum disease, and severe cases of Covid-19.

It is widely documented that poor oral health and gum disease can have a negative impact on your health, the implications of this new research puts forward an even stronger case for ensuring you take proper care of your teeth and gums.

Why is it that gum disease can have such hard-hitting consequences on our bodies, and can looking after your oral health truly help reduce the likelihood of contracting Covid-19?

The effects of gum disease

Gum disease will affect between 50-90% of the adult population in the UK in some form or another within their lifetime.

Also known as periodontal disease, the condition is often caused by a build-up of plaque and bacteria inside the mouth, inflaming and aggravating the gums which, if left to develop, can advance into more severe symptoms including:

  • Unpleasant tastes in the mouth
  • Bad breath
  • Receding gum lines
  • Abscesses
  • Sensitive teeth
  • Tooth loss (in more extreme cases).

A stricter oral health regime can often reverse the early onset symptoms of gum disease, and the condition itself can be caused by a range of factors, including:

  • Smoking
  • Diabetes
  • Stress
  • Hormonal imbalances
  • Generics
  • Prescribed medications.

Gum disease has been liked to a variety of other health issues, including heart disease and heart attacks, diabetes, stroke and rheumatoid arthritis, so ensuring your teeth and gums are kept clean and healthy is paramount.

Gum Disease
A healthy mouth on the left side compared to a diseased mouth on the right

Covid-19 and gum disease

Prior to Covid-19, research emerged to suggest that severe cases of gum disease could contribute to the severity of heart attacks, caused by inflammation in the gums and heart.

While more research is needed to establish a definitive link, enough evidence was presented to highlight the importance of oral health and preventing gum disease from progressing to a more severe level.

Scientists have speculated that infected gums may provide an entryway for Coronavirus to spread throughout the bloodstream, leading to an increase in the severity of Covid-19 symptoms and infection rates.

You may already be aware of murmurings from the last year that mouthwash is an effective way to kill Covid-19. While this claim has been discouraged by some, it is true that some types of mouthwash have been shown to inactivate SARS-CoV-2 in a laboratory setting.

The effectiveness of this has not been tested nor proven in real-life scenarios, however, studies do suggest that those suffering from advanced gum disease are much more likely to encounter more severe complications if they do contract Covid-19, highlighting that although using products such as mouthwash may not prevent contraction of virus, maintaining good oral health may negate more serious complications should you be affected by Coronavirus.

Prevention is always preferable to the cure, and ensuring you maintain the most optimal levels of oral hygiene can assist greatly with your overall health.

If you’re concerned about your teeth or gums, get in touch with our dedicated team to arrange a consultation.

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