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Covid-19 and Gum Health

Covid-19 and Gum Health

It seems like the whole world has spent the last year dealing with the virus known as Covid-19. Some places are more familiar with dealing with what we now know is a pandemic, but for many of us, this is our first foray into the terrifying world of an unknown and easily transmittable - and deadly - disease. We’ve learned a lot over the last year. And some of what we have learned has to do with how our bodies handle and react to a disease caused by a virus like Covid-19. We’ve always known that healthier bodies with strong immune systems are more likely to fight and win a battle against a foreign invader like a virus, but did you know that the state of your oral health plays a major part in the health of your body?

Over the years, experts have learned that gum disease has a suggested link with many parts of overall health, including heart health. Severe gum disease and oral bacteria may also make existing health issues worse. So, even though pretty much everybody wants a pretty smile and strong chompers, aesthetics and being able to eat a good steak are just part of why it is vital to take care of your teeth and gums.

There is an entire dental specialty associated with gum health because it is so important to your overall well-being. That specialty is called periodontics. At San Antonio Periodontics & Implants, our main focus is keeping your mouth, teeth, and especially gums, free of disease - and treating you when you have periodontal disease. It’s even more important in this day and age when we are dealing with Covid-19 - and other viral diseases - to give yourself a fighting chance of staying healthy in all respects.

How do you know if you need help with your oral health? Here are some signs that could be a red flag:

  • Bleeding gums
  • Loose teeth
  • Painful or tender spots in your mouth
  • Bad breath

If you are experiencing any of these tell-tale signs of gum disease, contact our caring staff today. We’ve been taking the proper precautions since day one to make sure our patients can safely visit our office. The American Dental Association reports that the Covid-19 infection rate among dentists remains low - we believe that is because of our stringent screening and comprehensive infection control measures.

Gum Disease & Covid-19

Dental and other health professionals believe there is a strong link between what’s going on in your mouth and the effect that has on other parts of your body, including your heart. Besides being uncomfortable, painful and causing tooth loss, periodontal disease may be linked to stroke, pneumonia, cancer and diabetes - and probably more. We are beginning to understand that all systems in our bodies are linked and somewhat dependent on each other - when something bad is happening in one place, it can have an impact on some other place, even if the two don’t seem to be related. Why is this?

When it comes to your mouth, doctors and researchers have theories that illustrate how a large amount of bad bacteria (such as the kind associated with gum inflammation) travels to other areas and has a detrimental influence once it arrives. Another strong theory says that inflammation can travel via blood vessels to other places. Similarly, but in the opposite direction, diseases such as Covid-19, diabetes and other virals can travel to your inflamed and sick gums, creating a storm of possible bad outcomes. Having perfectly healthy gums won’t necessarily protect you from experiencing illness and disease, but it can significantly affect how well your body handles illness and how quickly it recovers. Treating bad inflammation in your mouth due to periodontal disease is critical to staying healthy overall.

What Is Inflammation?

There’s been a lot in the news lately about inflammation. Inflammation occurs when your body is attempting to fight off an attacker. This could be a virus like Covid-19 or HIV, an injury where the skin is breached or other intruders - sometimes inflammation is caused when the body attempts to fight its own self, as in diseases like arthritis or Lupus. Various bodily functions respond in mostly appropriate ways to help fight off and cope with foreign invaders. So, in a sense, inflammation is a positive sign that your body is doing what it is supposed to be doing. But, when the body cannot resolve the cause of the inflammation, outside help is needed. In cases of severe periodontal disease, such as gingivitis, outside help is needed to bring the mouth back to a healthy baseline.

Treatment

What are some of the ways periodontal specialists achieve healthier gums and reduce or eliminate inflammation in the mouth? These established procedures are well documented to work for severe gum disease cases. Every person is different, however, and at San Antonio Periodontics & Implants, we approach each patient as a unique individual and together plan a personalized program just for you.

Scaling & Root Planing

For some less severe cases of gum disease, we can get you started on the path to a healthy mouth with a serious deep cleaning called scaling and root planing. We use local anesthetic so you stay comfortable throughout the procedure. With a specialized tool, we’ll clear out the plaque and buildup that’s at the “root” of the problem. Afterwards, you’ll have a fresh start at maintaining oral health.

Bone Grafting

With more severe cases of gum disease where the bones are affected, we’ll replace lost bone in order to provide an anchor for teeth - or implants. It sounds intrusive and scary, but the pain is manageable - and bone grafting can set you on the path to recovery from serious oral health issues.

At the end of the day, most severe cases of gum disease are preventable with proper oral maintenance such as brushing, flossing, and seeing a dental professional on a regular basis. Keeping your mouth healthy can go a long way towards making sure that a disease like Covid-19 doesn’t strike even harder due to unhealthy conditions in your mouth. If you do have concerns about your gum health, contact us for a consultation. We are open for business and our office and staff remain committed to keeping you safe while you are visiting us.

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