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Covid-19 and Gum Disease: How Are They Related?

Periodontal disease, more commonly referred to as gum disease, is considered the most under-diagnosed dental problem in Americans.

While gum disease alone can cause a variety of health issues, recent research has suggested untreated gum disease can significantly increase the negative effects of Covid-19 in sick patients.

Doctors and researchers studying the coronavirus have noted that patients with underlying issues like respiratory illness, heart disease, or diabetes have a more difficult time fighting off the Covid-19 virus.

More recently, gum disease has also been recognized as an underlying illness that can create extensive problems for people diagnosed with the coronavirus.

Considering this research, treating gum disease is more imperative than ever before and should not be ignored in order to protect your overall health.

How Is Gum Disease Related To Covid-19?

In the past, gum disease has been linked to other breathing issues, like pneumonia and pulmonary diseases.

Patients with severe gum disease produce high levels of a dangerous protein called interleukin. At very high levels, this protein can spread to the lungs and eventually trigger a life-threatening respiratory crisis.

Usually, people with gum disease don’t produce high enough levels of interleukin to create a significant problem. However, patients who are also diagnosed with the Covid-19 virus are at a very high risk for producing dangerous amounts of this protein.

According to a recent study in Germany linking interleukin with Covid-19, patients with bad gums face a much greater risk of experiencing respiratory crisis and needing a ventilator to breathe.

Who Is Most At Risk?

As shown by ongoing research, elderly patients, especially those with underlying conditions, are more likely to experience life-threatening Covid-19 emergencies, usually in the form of respiratory failure.

Unfortunately, elderly individuals are also more likely to suffer from chronic gum diseases than any other age demographic.

Because of this, anyone age 60 or older should pay especial attention to their oral health right now.

Anyone with gingivitis or a more serious gum disease, especially older patients, should get their teeth and gums looked at by their dentist as an extra precaution.

Common Symptoms Of Gum Disease

No matter what age you are, be on the lookout for some of the telltale signs of gum disease.

Gum disease can be difficult to identify.

However, some common symptoms of this problem are:

  • Bad breath that won’t go away
  • Red or swollen gums
  • Painful chewing
  • Loose teeth
  • Sensitive teeth
  • Receding gums

If any of these symptoms sound familiar, you’ll want to contact your dentist as soon as possible. Again, with the newly discovered link between Covid-19 and gum disease, treating any form of gum disease is absolutely imperative right now.

What Are My Next Steps?

If you’re worried that you may have gum disease, it’s probably time to plan a trip to your dentist. Given the possible impact gum disease may have on your ability to recover from the Covid virus, it’s a smart idea to start treating your gum disease now.

Thankfully, there are treatment plans to help you.

Your dentist might recommend a lifestyle change—like quitting smoking or brushing your teeth with a fluoride toothpaste.

Antibiotics are also commonly prescribed to help thoroughly clean the gums.

For more serious cases of gum disease, surgical treatments are sometimes required. But hopefully, you’ll be able to catch your gum disease early on and avoid these more extreme measures.

No matter the treatment plan, it’s a good idea to get treatment now. Covid-19 has proven to be a dangerous, life-threatening virus. You don’t want to potentially exacerbate this problem with an untreated underlying condition.

If you live in or near Kosciusko County and are wondering what to do next, let us help. Our team at East Center Dental can help create a treatment plan and provide any further recommendations you may need. Don’t wait. Contact our office today!