11/05/2021 by This Is It Dental 0 Comments
Could Long Covid be affecting your oral health?
Have you been experiencing problems with your dental health over the past year? Have you had any pre-existing issues that seem to have got worse? There could be a reason for this. Studies have shown that Covid-19 can have a negative effect on our oral health, so if you’ve been exposed to the virus this year it could be why you're experiencing problems with your teeth or gums.
We and other dentists have noticed that there has been an increase in dental health issues over the last year, with more patients complaining of issues such as greying teeth, sensitive gums, toothache, chipped teeth and even tooth loss!
So why is Covid-19 a possible cause for worsening oral health? There are in fact a number of reasons. One is that the coronavirus harms the circulatory system by damaging blood vessels, which is why other symptoms of Long Covid can also include hair loss and swollen toes, all issues caused by poor circulation of the blood.
Your mouth has a high concentration of blood vessels, which are key for keeping your teeth healthy and alive. However, it’s also a reason why Long Covid sufferers are more likely to experience oral health issues.
If your teeth do not get enough blood they also don’t get enough oxygen, so they can grow weaker and become susceptible to chipping or even falling out. In fact, many tooth loss cases related to Long Covid often happen without any bleeding.
Getting insufficient oxygen to your gums can also damage the tissue. This increases the likelihood of a patient developing ulcers, something which can be made worse with inflammation, which we will discuss later in this blog post.
To compound things, frequent mask use makes you more likely to breathe through your mouth rather than nose, which can cause dry mouth. Any pre-existing tissue damage can be exacerbated by dry mouth which is why it’s really important to stay hydrated during this time.
Another link between Covid-19 and oral health is the prevalence of something called an ACE2 receptor in the mouth. This is an enzyme which is the main target of Covid-19 when it’s trying to gain access to the body. As your mouth has so many ACE2 receptors, it is unfortunately one of the places that Covid-19 targets.
This means that the mouth is one of the areas of your body with a large amount of the virus if you do get infected, which means your immune system will want to target it to protect you. One of the side effects of your body's immune response is inflammation in the target area.
Inflammation causes swelling and redness, which can unfortunately bring complications for your oral health. Inflammation of the gums can be quite painful, which is why some people are reporting sensitive teeth and gums and some are having issues with bleeding.
It’s also important to keep in mind that not all of Covid-19’s effects on oral health are physical. The pandemic can also have a draining effect on our mental health which can manifest itself through oral complications. If you’re experiencing stress or anxiety during these times, it might make you more likely to grind your teeth while you sleep, so you may not notice it.
Teeth grinding can damage the enamel and increase the chance of your teeth chipping and, in the worst case, falling out. Remember, if you grind your teeth in your sleep, it’ll also reduce the quality of your sleep which can in turn put further strain on your mental wellbeing.
If you have experienced your oral health getting worse during the pandemic, then please do get in touch to see how we can help. Whether you have sore gums, or want to fix cracked or lost teeth, we can help. If you’re worried it may be a mental wellbeing issue leading to teeth grinding, we do have some procedures that can help you with this as well.
Our Harley Street clinic is open for business, and we have made sure all appointments are completely Covid-safe and hygienic. We can also arrange a free online consultation. Get in touch today: https://www.this-is-it-dental.co.uk/contact or email us: firstname.lastname@example.org