A new study has revealed that over 80% of patients who have had complications from COVID, also had periodontitis. Commonly known as gum disease, periodontitis is a bacterial infection of the gums.
Here, we’ll look at how gum disease is linked to COVID. And because it’s more important than ever, we include our top tips for you to take care of your oral hygiene.
What is gum disease?
Gum disease is a severe infection of the gum, capable of destroying the bones of the teeth. It is mostly caused by poor oral hygiene, making it a highly preventable condition. Over time, it can lead to tooth loss or at least a loosening of the teeth. It presents the following symptoms:
- Bad breath
- Puffy or swollen gums
- Bleeding gums
- Spaces between the teeth
- Pain when chewing
It starts when plaque sticks to the teeth. If it isn’t removed, it hardens into tartar which is packed full of bacteria. Over time, it will lead to gingivitis, a mild type of gum disease. At this stage, it is reversible with good oral hygiene and professional treatment. However, if left it will go on to cause periodontitis.
How is gum disease linked to COVID?
Currently, research is underway to determine the connection between gum disease and COVID. A study has already revealed that over 80% of patients who had COVID complications, also had periodontitis. Out of the patients who didn’t experience any complications, just 43% had periodontitis.
This shows that gum disease does appear to increase your risk of suffering complications if you develop COVID. Now, additional research is needed to determine the exact link between the two conditions.
Oral hygiene advice to keep your gums healthy
Gum disease is a common health problem worldwide. It is estimated that around 50% of the entire population suffer from a mild to moderate form of the disease. An additional 10% of the population is thought to have severe gum disease. COVID has only exacerbated the problem, as millions of patients missed their dental check-ups during lockdown.
If you want to avoid potential COVID complications and stay healthy, taking care of your oral hygiene is important. Some of the best ways to do this include:
- Brush twice a day with an electric toothbrush
- Floss at least once a day
- Use a fluoride toothpaste
- Avoid smoking
- Visit your dental hygienist
Brushing twice a day is something we should all be doing. However, you should make sure you are using fluoride toothpaste and ideally an electric toothbrush too. Flossing daily will also help to keep gum disease at bay.
Keeping up with your dental hygiene appointments is also important. These help you to keep on top of your oral health, identifying any potential problems quickly. At CK Dental, our friendly hygienist, Sam, recently had training with a leading periodontist. She can remove any hard or soft plaque deposits on your teeth, and most importantly, give you advice on how to keep your mouth healthy. The more regularly you visit, the better the health and appearance of your teeth will be.