Why Oral Health Is Critical During COVID-19?
As our mouths act as the gateway to our body, it makes sense to think that our overall health is linked with our good oral health. Dental experts from across the nations agree that poor oral hygiene may be linked to serious COVID-19 complications. So it is very important to observe good oral health practices during the pandemic.
We know that COVID-19 causes a range of symptoms and severity can vary among different people. But why are some people suffering more severely than others? Studies reveal that in severe cases, the reason might be bacterial superinfections that could have led to complications such as acute respiratory distress and pneumonia. In fact, over 50% of COVID-19 deaths exhibited bacterial superinfections. Interestingly, these bacteria may originate in our mouths.
How bacteria reach the lungs from the mouth?
Over seven hundred bacteria, fungi, and viruses are known to colonize our mouth. Some of the primary bacterial populations that exist in our mouth are F. nucleatum, S.mutans, P. intermedia, and P. gingivalis. Most of the lower respiratory infections are caused by the inhalation of such bacteria or microorganisms into our body's airways.
How do you think the bacteria from our mouth reach our lungs? Bacteria that colonize our mouth are often shed into the saliva. It is seen that such pathogenic bacteria present in the saliva can get aspirated into the lower respiratory tract and can cause or worsen an infection. Dental decay and periodontitis are the two of the most typical oral diseases that are often connected with a pathological bacteria imbalance in the oral cavity.
How to reduce your risk with good oral hygiene?
So, now as the studies have already revealed that inadequate oral hygiene in patients with COVID-19 and other similar viral diseases, we know that inadequate oral hygiene can enhance the risk of inter-bacterial exchange between the mouth and the lungs. This can increase the risk of respiratory infections and possibly post-viral bacterial complications.
Therefore, good oral hygiene habits must be routinely followed by patients, especially those over the age of seventy, if they want to prevent airway infections. Studies conducted in this field have revealed that improved dental health can considerably reduce the occurrence of ventilator-associated pneumonia that is often seen in ICU patients.
To summarize, we recommend always maintaining oral hygiene especially during COVID-19 infection. This will reduce the bacterial load in the oral cavity and hence also reduce the potential risk of a bacterial superinfection to the patient.
If you want to know more about the link between oral hygiene and COVID-19 infections, or you are looking for a Ames dentist to help you to maintain better oral hygiene, make sure to give us a call. Contact us for trusted and affordable family dentistry services in Ames.