Very recently, dentistry was flagged as a high-risk profession; however, less than 1% of dentists in the U.S. have contracted COVID-19. How is that, when during a dental appointment aerosolized respiratory droplets are created? Somehow, dentists seem to have discovered immunity. Here’s how they’re staying safe and keeping you safe, too.
Don’t Gamble with Your Oral Health
During the pandemic, it’s not only safe, but very important to go to the dentist – for more reasons than one. Poor oral hygiene can have serious ramifications. These consequences spread far beyond bad breath and tooth pain. Bacteria in the mouth can easily enter the bloodstream through something as simple as brushing your teeth and can lead to a serious infection in your heart. It can also be inhaled and cause infection in your lungs. The last thing you need during the COVID-19 pandemic is the development of a condition that puts you in an at-risk category, or worse: a lung infection that collides with the virus.
Lower That Bacterial Load
Gingivitis. Periodontitis. These multi-syllable words are not meant to terrorize us into proper oral care. Instead, they’re inflammatory diseases that alert dentists to the possibility of major health crises waiting to happen, including:
- 3x increased risk of diabetes
- 25% increased risk of heart disease
- 20% increased risk of high blood pressure
These diseases put you in an at-risk category for contracting COVID-19. While there are many manifestations of COVID-19, certain factors can ramp up the severity of the symptoms you experience. What can turn an initially mild case of COVID into a severe case? A high bacterial load. That’s right. A higher bacterial count in your body and in your bloodstream, introduced by gum disease, can increase the impact of COVID-19 on your body.
Inflamed lungs. When it comes to people with conditions that put them in at-risk categories, such as those with asthma, life can be much more challenging during the pandemic. Complications occur when bacteria in your mouth is inhaled into your lungs, causing a secondary bacterial infection on top of a COVID-19 viral infection and your already at-risk condition. The results can be disastrous.
Take Care of Your Oral Health
Poor oral hygiene exacerbates pre-existing conditions. This increases your COVID-19 susceptibility and your chances of contracting a secondary infection. Bacteria that are a byproduct of poor dental health can inflame the lungs. Of course, this causes your symptoms to become more severe than they would have been otherwise. So what can you do to prevent this?
Take Care of Yourself
Overall health starts with what you put in your mouth. Eating healthy and a rigorous hygiene routine is paramount. Staying hydrated is extremely important, too.
Brush your teeth twice a day. If you’re stuck at home to work or attend online classes, you likely have the ability to brush three times a day. If that’s the case, take advantage of it! And don’t forget to floss daily! Studies have shown that when patients with pneumonia implement a regimented hygiene routine, mortality rates are reduced. If you’ve been slacking on your oral hygiene routine, jump back on the bandwagon right now!
Go the Extra Mile in Oral Hygiene
From dental cleanings to regular X-rays, these ordinary procedures are important. It’s only a matter of time before elective work blossoms into major issues. And if the cost is an issue, remember: when a problem becomes more extensive, it becomes more expensive. Most offices have some type of financial assistance to allow you to get your mouth back to 100% healthy!
Visit a Dentist in Richmond, VA
As we’ve discovered, dentists and COVID are unlikely opponents. Dentists are some of the least-risk groups in America, though. You should feel comfortable going to see your dentist even if you’re high risk. After all, they were wearing masks before it was ‘in’! And making sure your mouth stays it’s healthiest could help save your life.
What’s next? Schedule that appointment and follow through. Follow social distancing and masking procedure guidelines to help protect the people around you. Make sure you’re following the individual protocols set by our office, too.
We’re ready to serve you with the same compassion, knowledge, and gentle care that you’re used to. By maintaining your oral health, we’re also helping to protect you from COVID-19.
From masks, to hand hygiene, to social distancing, that extra barrier of protection is something that we could all use a little more of these days!
Contact us to schedule your appointment and we’ll get you on the books. We look forward to taking care of you!