Going to the dentist during a pandemic might seem ill-advised and even a bit scary.
With everything going on in the world right now, just leaving your house can be nerve-wracking.
But as it turns out, routine dental care is crucial now more than ever.
Research findings are starting to suggest a link between periodontitis and Covid-related respiratory problems, making bi-annual cleanings and exams at your San Diego dentist even more crucial to maintaining your overall health.
Today we’ll be exploring how having a healthy mouth can help protect you from covid-related complications and how, with the proper precautions, you and your family can visit the dentist worry-free.
How Does Your Oral Health Affect Your Lungs?
Even before the worldwide pandemic, researchers established a connection between periodontal disease and certain respiratory conditions.
According to the Journal of Medicine and Life, oral health issues such as periodontitis can influence the course of respiratory infections like pneumonia, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and asthma.
And not the good, “Stay in school and get good grades,” kind of influence.
Untreated periodontitis is linked to an increased risk of complications and an even higher mortality rate in hospitalized patients with these conditions.
But how does that work? How can what’s going on in your mouth have such a big impact on your lungs?
To answer that question, we’re going to pose another question to you.
Have you ever accidentally inhaled water and then proceeded to have a coughing fit for the next five minutes?
Of course you have. You’re human.
Well, the act of accidentally inhaling food or water is called aspiration. And the same way you can aspirate water in the middle of a restaurant full of people, you can also aspirate periodontal disease-causing oral bacteria.
While you won’t have the usual coughing fit afterward, your lungs won’t exactly like it when you aspirate harmful bacteria.
So, naturally, they’ll become inflamed in hopes of counteracting the unwelcome visitors’ presence.
This inflammatory response can affect the way your lungs function, making them less effective and increasing your risk of pneumonia and COPD.
This risk is one of the many reasons why regular trips to your San Diego dentist are essential to maintaining your oral health.
And with the current public health crisis, the importance of dental care during covid-19 can’t be overstated.
How Does Your Oral Health Affect Your Risk of Covid-Related Complications?
According to the California Dental Association (CDA), roughly 20% of covid-19 patients develop severe respiratory issues that can lead to acute respiratory distress syndrome, which along with pneumonia, is the leading cause of mortality in those patients.
Many of these people require intensive care and even need to be mechanically ventilated to breathe properly.
Now that we know conditions like periodontitis can cause systemic inflammation and increase the risk of pneumonia and COPD, we can safely say that routine dental cleanings pack serious covid complication-fighting potential.
In fact, the CDA states:
“Successful control of periodontal inflammation can be beneficial to the lungs, possibly decreasing severity and risk of COVID-19 respiratory problems.”
When you prevent plaque and bacteria from developing in your mouth, you won’t have to worry about aspirating any of it and causing unnecessary harm to your lungs.
So, by improving your oral health with regular dental cleanings, you can reduce the risk of complications if the worst should happen and you or someone you love contracts covid.
This unfortunate health crisis also makes maintaining your at-home dental care regimen all the more critical. To keep gum disease and periodontitis at bay, it takes consistent effort.
Do your best to brush twice every day with fluoride toothpaste for at least two minutes and floss once every day.
If you already have periodontitis, you may need a more rigorous at-home dental care routine. Talk with your San Diego dentist about the best way to protect your oral health.
Is it Safe to Seek Dental Care During Covid-19?
If you’re worried about going to the dentist right now, you’re not alone. But as long as your local dentist has the proper safety measures in place, there’s no reason to worry.
Masks and social distancing are a must, and you want your dental care team to be checking temperatures, sanitizing surfaces, and limiting patient traffic as much as possible.
At Dental Express, we do everything in our power to keep our patients and staff safe and risk-free:
- Covid questionnaire: When you make an appointment with us, we require you to fill out the CDA and ADA-approved covid questionnaire. And for good measure, we ask the same questions again when you come in for your visit.
- Keep the lobby doors locked: To prevent overcrowding, we keep the lobby doors locked and have you check-in online. When it’s time for your appointment, we call you up and welcome you inside.
- Check temperatures at the door: When you come inside, the first thing we do is check your temperature and offer you a hand sanitizer. If your temperature looks good and you’re not showing any symptoms, we’ll check you in and call you back when we’re ready.
- Limit number of patients in the lobby: As we welcome patients into the office, we limit how many can come in to give everyone enough space to practice social distancing safely.
- Top-notch sterilization: We sterilize our tools with industry-grade antiseptic, and we promise to leave your mouth cleaner than we found it, whether there’s a pandemic or not.
- Sanitize all places of contact: Countertops, door handles, chairs, armrests. No surface is safe from our regular sanitizing sessions throughout the day!
- Extended appointment slots: To adapt to the covid environment, we’ve lengthened appointment time slots. The extra time allows us to clean our equipment and seating area for the next patient, and it also reduces the overall traffic coming in and out of the office every day.
We follow these safety protocols at all six of our locations in the San Diego area. So, wherever you make an appointment with us, you can rest assured your visit will be clean and safe.
Safe, Quality Dental Care You Can Trust
What we’re going through as a nation and as a planet is unprecedented. This is a stressful time for all of us.
In times like these, it can be so easy to let our personal care take a back seat, especially when it comes to oral hygiene.
But as we learned today, receiving dental care during covid-19 is one of the best ways to protect yourself.
Now more than ever, make a point to stick to your oral health routine at home. And set up regular cleanings at your local San Diego dentist to keep your mouth clean and healthy.
At Dental Express, your safety, security, and oral health are our top priorities during this global health crisis. We understand these are difficult, frightening times.
That’s why we do everything in our power to create a safe and comfortable environment for you and your family.
If you have any questions about our covid-19 safety precautions or you’d like to make an appointment at one of our locations, please don’t hesitate to reach out.
We’re in this together, and we’re here for you every step of the way.