Preventive Dentistry |4 min read

How Gum Disease Increases Your Risk of COVID-19 Complications

It’s been more than a year since the first COVID-19 case was detected in the US and since then our lives have changed dramatically. As the virus continues to thrive, we still don’t know everything about it like what long-term effects it can have on people and if it will ever go away. However, new studies develop all the time. One of the most recent studies looked at underlying health issues and how they affected people who contracted COVID-19. In the study, they discovered that gum disease was one of the underlying factors that greatly increased COVID-19 complications.

Study Finds that Gum Disease Can Increase COVID-19 Complications

In February 2021, researchers in Qatar published a study that concluded gum disease could lead to a higher risk of COVID-19 complications. The study involved 568 patients in total. Of the 568 patients, 258 had some form of periodontitis.

Patients with gum disease were:

  • 3.5 times more likely to require admission to intensive care
  • 4.5 times more likely to require a ventilator
  • 9 times more likely to die

These numbers are in comparison to patients without gum disease.

In the study, inflammation levels were also recorded. The study discovered that those with gum disease and COVID-19 had higher inflammation levels than those with COVID-19 alone. Gum disease causes an inflammatory response and when it goes untreated, it can spread to the rest of the body. COVID-19 also causes inflammation and when the two combine, it increases overall inflammation in the body.

It’s projected that the reason gum disease leads to such high levels of COVID-19 complications is due to the inflammation levels. High inflammation opens the floodgates for more complications and death.

Symptoms of Gum Disease

One important takeaway from this study is that gum disease shouldn’t be ignored. This one preventable disease could cause a different fate if you were to encounter COVID-19. On the bright side, gum disease is completely preventable and treatable. The key to a successful treatment is catching gum disease in its earliest stages by recognizing symptoms. Take a look at the list of the symptoms of gum disease, and if you experience one or more, please contact us at (920) 563-7323 to book an appointment for an evaluation.

  • Tender gums
  • Receding gums
  • Swollen, red gums
  • Bleeding gums when brushing, flossing, or eating
  • Bad breath
  • Pus between gums and teeth
  • Loose teeth
  • Changes to bite
  • Tooth loss
  • Spaces between teeth
  • Painful chewing

Tips For Gum Disease Prevention

Instead of waiting until gum disease symptoms appear, you can take preventive action. It’s important to note that some people have a higher risk of developing periodontal disease due to their genetics or habits. However, anyone can take extra steps to protect themselves from gum disease.

Brush and Floss

One of the easiest ways you can protect yourself from the dangers of gum disease is simply by brushing and flossing your teeth. You should brush your teeth in the morning and at night every single day. For a better cleaning, consider switching to an electric toothbrush. Just make sure not to brush too hard or you can damage your enamel and cause receding gums.

You should also floss once per day, preferably before you brush your teeth at night. Currently, only about 16% of people floss daily according to the ADA. Flossing is essential for removing bacteria and plaque from beneath the gum line and from between your teeth. If you don’t floss, this buildup can cause tooth decay and gum disease. If you find flossing too difficult, a water flosser is a viable alternative, although it’s not as effective as flossing.

What’s the reason you don’t floss? Do you find it too time-consuming? If so, know that you will likely spend a lot more time in the dental chair during cleanings and necessary procedures to undo the harm you’ve done. Whether you try different types of floss, use a flosser, or a water pick, any type of flossing is better than none.

Dental Cleanings

On top of regular brushing and flossing, you should also prioritize visiting our Fort Atkinson dentist every six months for a dental cleaning. During dental cleanings, we remove plaque and tartar from your teeth and beneath the gum line and search for signs of decay or disease. By visiting us every six months, it gives us an opportunity to catch problems in their earliest stages. This helps us provide you with early treatment and prevents the problem from getting worse.

The sooner we can catch gum disease, the less damage it will do.

Daily Habits

You can also prevent gum disease by changing your daily habits. For instance, if you smoke, chew tobacco, or drink alcohol, cutting back or stopping altogether can help prevent gum disease.

You can also reduce your sugar and starchy food intake to prevent gum disease. 

Get Gum Disease Treatment in Fort Atkinson

If you think you have gum disease, don’t wait to get treatment. Treating gum disease will not just lower your risk of COVID-19 complications, it will improve your overall health. Contact BKS Dental at (920) 563-7323 to book an appointment with one of our Fort Atkinson dentists.

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