A healthy mouth encourages a healthy immune system which can reduce your risk of contracting COVID, as well as other viruses. Conversely, poor oral hygiene can encourage dysbiosis (digestive disturbances), which can increase the prevalence of pathogenic oral bacteria and other diseases.
A recent study highlighting the relevant role co-infections play in the mortality of patients with COVID-19 has the dental health community on alert to the role oral bacteria has in facilitating co-infections. We know bad dental health can impact overall health and that bacterial species in our mouths can be better controlled through good oral hygiene.
(Read “Co-infections: potentially lethal and unexplored in COVID-19,” published April 24, 2020, in The Lancet.)
Can Proper Brushing Help Prevent the Flu Too?
Yes, proper brushing and regular dental checkups can ward off periodontal diseases and other issues that weaken your immune system or strengthen pathogenic bacteria in your mouth.
A weakened immune system makes you more susceptible to viruses as well as the common cold. Moreover, there is evidence that poor dental hygiene is linked to diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, endocarditis, and other serious diseases. Gum inflammation may contribute to brain inflammation, neurodegeneration, and Alzheimer’s disease, according to an NYU study.
What Kind of Bacteria is in My Mouth?
Streptococcus mutans are the most common bacteria in mouths. These feed on starches and sugars from the food you eat. This bacterium is typically the cause of tooth decay as it creates an acidic, enamel-eroding byproduct. Porphyromonas gingivalis is another type of harmful bacteria in mouths. This bacterium causes periodontitis.
Some microbes in your mouth are not harmful. Oral lactobacilli, for example, helps break down foods, absorb nutrients, and can fight harmful organisms.
How Can I Keep Bacteria Out of my Mouth?
Brushing and flossing can help keep bacteria at bay, but it must be done regularly to be effective. bacteria can grow exponentially in a short amount of time. Regular dental check-ups and cleanings also help keep bacteria out of your mouth. Regular visits also may help your dentist discover anomalies in your dental health, possibly lessening threats to your immune system.
Additionally: Rinse your mouth often and drink plenty of water throughout the day. Add healthy food items to your diet and avoid simple sugars. Crunchy, health
What Are Some Dental Tips During COVID?
- Wash your hands before and after brushing.
- Disinfect your toothbrush regularly. We suggest placing toothpaste on your brush using a disposable cotton swab.
- Continue regular flossing, making sure to disinfect the floss container before and after each use.
- Households should store toothbrushes safely away from each other.
- Make healthy food choices and drink plenty of water daily.
What if I think I’m Sick Already?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has a website dedicated to coronavirus updates and recommendations, including how to protect yourself and what to do if you are sick.
If you have mild symptoms, you should stay home. Don’t leave your home unless it’s to get medical care. Pennsylvania dentists can see patients for non-emergency care.
At Susquehanna Dental Arts, we follow infection control recommendations made by the Department of Health (DOH), the CDC, and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
Learn more about our office procedures and recommendations and feel free to call our office with any concerns or questions.