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Link Between Gum Disease and COVID-19

Be Proactive About Gum Health at Family Dentistry of Knoxville

If you’ve ever been to the dentist, then you’ve probably been told how important it is to maintain healthy gums. Healthy gums make you less likely to suffer from diabetes, cardiovascular disease, chronic respiratory disease, dementia, and more. Now, with the current pandemic, healthy gums are more important than ever, and they could mean the difference between surviving COVID-19 and having serious complications.

While the medical world is still trying to understand how this pandemic works, there has been some emerging research that shows a connection between gum disease and COVID-19. The new report, which will be found in the Journal of the California Dental Association, called “The Mouth COVID Connection (MCC).” It demonstrates that oral cavities are a transmission route and that periodontitis, which is a type of gum infection that can lead to tooth loss and other serious health complications, is associated with a higher transmission of the virus.

The study also suggests that patients with unhealthy gums are at greater risk of generating harmful levels of IL-6 protein that can spread to their lungs. IL-6, also known as interleukins, are hormone-like proteins found at the sites of inflammation in periodontal disease and other ailments. If these proteins reach a high enough level, they result in respiratory issues that can make recovering from COVID-19 more challenging.

Of the 170,000 Americans and counting who have died from COVID-19, those researching and analyzing their cases have highlighted the potential role gum disease has played in the rising death doll. What they have found is that the individuals most likely to encounter serious complications from the virus are the same ones who suffer from chronic gum disease and respiratory issues.

Oral Health and Lung Disease

The findings that link COVID-19 and gum disease are fairly new, but our understanding of the correlation between dental health and lung disease is not new at all. Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), is one of the most common respiratory diseases and the third leading cause of death in the United States. It makes breathing difficult and contributes to a lack of energy. Gum disease has been known to worsen chronic inflammation in lung diseases like asthma and COPD, putting those already at risk of COVID-19 complications in even more danger.

How Our Team Will Prevent Complications From Gum Disease

Moving forward, this research could promote new protocol in vulnerable communities, like nursing homes. Future safety practices might include screening individuals for gum disease.

To help prevent our patients from getting to that point, our dental team in Knoxville invests in the most cutting-edge equipment. We offer intraoral cameras, which help us fully investigate the gums and the whole mouth, digital dental x-rays, a digital Panorex that gives a 2D view of the mouth, digital photography, and diagnostic wax-ups so you can see the progress of your dental health over time.

This equipment, when administered by our skilled and compassionate team of dental experts, will get your gum health in the best place possible to mitigate your risk of complications from COVID-19. This means that your next trip to the dentist could save your smile and your life. Not only do we specialize in gum disease treatment, but we also offer cosmetic, general, pediatric, and restorative dentistry, so we are prepared to address any and all of your oral health needs.

To learn more about how our team at Knoxville Family Dentistry can keep your gums healthy and set you up to fight disease, call us today at (865) 383-1017 or contact us online.

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