Pandemic and Oral Health: How COVID-19 Has Affected Oral Health

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Americans take their oral health seriously. It’s one of the countries under siege from dental illnesses, so that makes sense. However, the COVID-19 pandemic makes it harder for people to maintain their oral health.

The problem with oral health is that it shifts and turns depending on the world’s current situation. It’s reliant on many physical aspects of daily lives. Moreover, it’s reliant on the people practicing dentistry. The lack of dentists is one of the industry’s major problems right now.

Closed Dental Offices

Oral health is an essential part of people’s daily lives. You brush your teeth, floss, and keep your mouth in top shape. But sometimes, a pesky illness goes through despite your healthy oral health. The best way for these dental illnesses to immediately get cured is by visiting dental health professional. However, what can you do if your dental health professional is closed due to the pandemic?

This is the problem that many Americans face during the pandemic. Many needed dental procedures are out of their reach because many dentists have to close down due to the virus. As a result, even the most essential procedures are difficult to find. This is not to mention more complex operations such as wisdom teeth removal. This makes it problematic for people to maintain their oral health.

Since dentistry is a highly physical practice, many clinics closed due to the fear of cross-infections. In 2021, a considerable chunk of practicing dentists had to close their clinics because of the pandemic. They claim that their source of livelihood was generally affected, which pushed them to find other options.

Thankfully, some dentists’ offices have opened up following the necessary protocols to function. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has also lifted some strict measures concerning public and private clinics.

Chronic Illnesses, COVID-19, and Oral Health

People with chronic illnesses have a higher chance of getting the virus while also developing oral health concerns. This is a grim finding and one we can’t do anything about.

The virus has indirect and direct interactions with all sorts of physical and dental illnesses. For example, a person with periodontal disease can have a more challenging time recovering from such a disease if they had COVID-19. Similarly, a person can also have more difficulty recovering from periodontal disease because of COVID-19.

Moreover, people with diabetes and heart disease also have a heightened vulnerability to oral diseases and COVID-19. This can lead to complications that can be fatal for some patients. Additionally, the lack of hospital slots can make it even harder for these people to recover.

Your mouth is essential in the intake of the necessary nutrients to sustain yourself. If you already suffer from various oral diseases, it can be more challenging to recover from the virus once you get infected.

Early Identification and Diagnosis

Many dental professionals have realized that they can be at the forefront of identifying and diagnosing COVID-19. The loss of taste and a dry mouth are all oral aspects of the virus. So dentists that identify these early symptoms among their patients can help them get the treatment they need before the symptoms can grow worse.

Many experts suggest bringing dentists to the forefront of combating the virus. All it takes is the necessary training and knowledge about the virus. Dentists aware of the early and severe symptoms of COVID-19 can help treat the virus in their clinics.

Severity of COVID-19
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Oral health can also determine the severity of COVID-19 among patients. As stated earlier, our mouths are essential for nutritional intake, so people who have oral diseases while infected with the virus have a more challenging time recovering. This can lead to more severe symptoms of COVID-19 and, in some cases, even death. However, this isn’t the only way oral health contributes to the severity of the virus.

Studies have shown that people with poor oral health are more susceptible to get pneumonia. This can be problematic because pneumonia is dangerous comorbidity when someone has the COVID-19 virus. By addressing the problems with oral health, we can drastically reduce the chances of someone developing pneumonia while being infected. This can then drastically reduce the mortality rate of the virus.

Oral health and the pandemic are closely related, and it’s a relationship that many people can’t ignore. By utilizing various fields of dentistry, you can try and control the virus from an oral health perspective. It can reduce mortality rates and identify and diagnose the virus as early as possible.

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