More and more research shows that dental health is essential for the overall health of the body. Now, a recent study indicates that gum disease increases COVID-19 mortality rates nine times. This is an extremely significant finding and should give everyone extra motivation to make sure that their mouth is healthy and to address any issues.
The Link Between Gum Disease and COVID-19 Mortality
Everyone knows that COVID-19 is a serious, potentially fatal illness. However, mortality rates depend on many factors. For example, many studies have linked conditions such as hypertension and obesity with higher mortality rates. Another, less publicized finding is that a study published in the Journal of Clinical Periodontology shows a link between periodontitis (a type of gum infection) and the severity of COVID-19 in patients. Specifically, the study revealed that people with gum disease are nine times more likely to die from COVID-19. Additionally, the study found that people with gum disease were also more likely to end up in an ICU and require ventilators.
Gum disease has already been linked with hypertension and heart disease. The fact that it’s also a significant factor in COVID-19 mortality only underscores just how important it is to maintain good dental health.
How to Prevent and Cure Gum Disease
Gum disease is a common problem with potentially serious consequences. Many people have gum disease without even knowing it. Let’s look at the signs of gum disease as well as how to prevent and treat it.
Preventing Gum Disease
Gum disease is usually caused by poor oral hygiene, although it can also accompany conditions such as obesity and diabetes. Here are some practices to help you avoid gum disease.
- Brush your teeth at least twice daily, for at least two minutes.
- Floss at least once daily.
- Quit smoking if you’re a smoker. Aside from other health risks, smoking contributes to gum disease.
- Get regular dental checkups. Gum disease can be hard to spot in the early stages, so it’s best to have a professional examine you.
Symptoms of Gum Disease
Here are the most common signs of gum disease.
- Gums appear red or swollen. Healthy gums are pink and have a firm consistency.
- Your gums often bleed when eating or brushing your teeth.
- Loose teeth or teeth falling out.
- Bad breath.
- Gums are painful when chewing.
If you have these symptoms, you may have gum disease or another dental problem. These are all signs that you should see a dentist as soon as possible.
Treatment For Gum Disease
Once you have gum disease, you’ll need a dentist to treat it. Some treatments that your dentist may recommend include:
- Professional dental cleaning. This is important for general oral health and helps prevent gum disease in the future.
- Scaling and root planning. This is a non-surgical treatment that removes plaque and tartar from above and below the gum line.
- Surgical procedures. For advanced gum disease, a dentist may recommend surgical procedures such as bone grafts, in which your gums are reinforced with actual or synthetic bone fragments. Another surgical procedure is tissue grafts, where gums are reinforced with soft tissue.
It’s Time to Take Care of Your Teeth and Gums
During the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s more important than ever to take care of your health. Taking care of your gums will help you maintain good overall health and also lower your risk of ending up in ICU or dying from COVID-19. If you’ve been putting off a visit to the dentist, you now have more motivation to make an appointment.
Ready for a checkup to make sure your teeth and gums are in good condition? Today’s Dental provides top quality, affordable dental care in several locations in the Omaha area. To learn more about our services or to make an appointment, contact us.