Over the last year, the COVID-19 pandemic has been on everyone’s minds. You have probably been wearing a facial covering or mask, practicing social distancing, and increasing your sanitation and hygiene practices. With every action, you have tried to minimize the spread of the disease and mitigate your risk of catching it. At La Mesa Hills Dentistry, we too have increased our health and safety practices due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Have you thought about the connection between your oral health and COVID-19? At LMHD, we want you to have all the information, and emerging research suggests that there may be a connection between your oral health and COVID-19. 

 A recent study published by the Journal of the California Dental Association examines the connection between periodontitis (gum disease) and COVID-19 symptoms, suggesting that periodontal inflammation can actually lead to increased severity of COVID-19 symptoms. What does that mean for individuals that contract COVID-19? The study that examined the link between periodontal disease and COVID-19-related respiratory complications, “The Mouth-COVID Connection: IL-6 Levels in Periodontal Disease ― Potential Role in COVID-19-Related Respiratory Complications” by Shervin Molayem, DDS, and Carla Cruvinel Pontes, DDS, PhD, showed that patients with periodontal inflammation face an increased risk of some severe symptoms caused by COVID-19. Because high levels of oral bacteria can greatly affect lung function, patients with periodontal inflammation may face an increased risk of pneumonia and COVID-19-related pulmonary complications, the study found. 

The findings of this study suggest that the control and prevention of periodontitis is critical for minimizing this increased risk of severe COVID symptoms. According to the study, successful control of periodontal inflammation can be beneficial to the lungs and potentially decrease the severity and risk of COVID-19 respiratory problems. The study suggests that the prevention of underlying conditions that cause systemic inflammation, such as periodontitis, can improve patients’ overall health and decrease their potential for severe COVID complications. By preventing periodontitis, patients can decrease their chances of needing intensive care and mechanical ventilation due to severe COVID-19 symptoms.

Gum disease, or periodontitis, is an infection of the tissues that surround and support the teeth. In early stages, periodontal inflammation causes gums to become red and swollen, and they may occasionally bleed. Over time, the gums begin to pull away from the teeth and form deepened spaces or pockets where more plaque collects, and bacteria multiplies. Bleeding in the gums can allow bacterial pathogens to flood into the bloodstream. Bacteria may also be inhaled, entering our bodies through the lining of the bronchial tubes leading to our lungs. Our immune systems are designed to deal with these types of invasions, but if you have a weakened immune system, periodontitis can have serious implications on your overall health.

 At La Mesa Hills Dentistry, our goal is to help you maintain optimal oral and overall health. By focusing on good oral health habits, you reduce your risk of periodontitis, which may also help to mitigate your risk of severe COVID-19 complications. If you are experiencing symptoms of periodontitis, such as sore or swollen gums, please call us right away. LMHD is open for routine dental care and check-ups, and we are following all local, state, and federal health guidelines to ensure your safety. It is important that you don’t delay taking care of your oral health – it can have serious implications for your overall health! At La Mesa Hills Dentistry, in La Mesa, California, we are here to help you. Give us a call at (619) 469-2902, or contact us here, to set up your next appointment.