Covid 19 and Dental Health Consequences
When Covid first appeared on the scene, medical news stories reported that affected patients were losing their sense of taste and smell along with body aches and breathing issues that could be quite severe. Other covid related physical changes were subsequently discovered. This article focuses on changes in the mouth.
One change is the Covid tongue. The tongue can display ulcers of various shapes and sizes with Covid. (Other conditions can also cause changes on the tongue.)
Covid can also cause dry mouth. A dry mouth is more prone to decay – a very undesirable condition.
Covid 19 and Co-existing Gum Disease
One not uncommon condition for the general public is the existence of periodontal (gum) disease. This condition is a result of plaque that accumulates around teeth at the gum line. This sets up inflammation of the affected tissue which turns red and bleeds easily. As the periodontal disease process continues, the bacteria in the plaque continue to grow down the side of the tooth causing bone loss over a period of time. Studies show that patients with both COVID-19 and gum disease were “3.5 times more likely to be admitted to an intensive care unit than were those without gum disease. There were also 4.5 times more likely to be put on a ventilator, and 8.8 times more likely to die.” (“nature” 27 October 2021)
Another interesting Covid 19 related oral condition is a reported increase in the number of cracked teeth. It is theorized that this is caused by an increase in bruxism (teeth grinding and clenching).
The amount of research on everything COVID-19 related is only going to increase. And I will continue to review the research, especially as it relates to oral health.
Hopefully, we can learn enough to get this virus more under control and also control the different variants which crop up. And one day life can get back to normal.