Don’t Put Off Taking Care of Your Gum Health During COVID-19
The best way to protect yourself and others from COVID-19 is to practice social distancing. Even as the country begins to slowly reopen, it’s important that we only leave our homes for essential trips like visiting the grocery store, the pharmacy, or the dentist. Even though you may be tempted to postpone your dental appointment, leaving common oral health issues like gum disease untreated can put you at risk during the COVID-19 pandemic. Your Tallahassee periodontist explains how the health of your gums can influence your overall wellbeing during the pandemic and what they can do to keep you and your smile safe.
Connecting Gum Health & COVID-19
Periodontal (gum) disease develops when plaque and tartar build up and cause a bacterial infection in the gum tissue. Well over half of Americans have some level of this common oral health issue, and the CDC reports that over 47% of the population has periodontitis. This advanced stage of gum disease is the leading cause of tooth loss in the US, but its harmful effects don’t stop at your smile.
Researchers believe that the dangerous bacteria at the root of gum disease and the inflammation it can cause are able to spread throughout the body. This increases a person’s risk of systemic issues like respiratory infections and heart disease. Additionally, the more energy the immune system spends combatting gum disease, the less prepared it is to fight off viruses like COVID-19 and the more likely you are to develop severe complications from it.
Treating Periodontal Disease
Thankfully, gum disease can be managed or completely reversed when caught early enough. Your Tallahassee periodontist can help get your gum health back on track with specialized services. After inspecting your mouth carefully, they may recommend a periodontal therapy in Tallahassee, like:
- Periodontal cleanings: Removing plaque and tartar buildup from the gumline can prevent the onset and spread of early gum disease symptoms.
- Scaling and root planning: This deep clean of your gums removes harmful bacteria to help reverse gingivitis, the earliest stage of gum disease. Then, the roots of your teeth are slightly reshaped and smoothed to encourage healing and hinder future plaque buildup.
- Osseous surgery: Gum disease can also damage the jawbone beneath your gums. A minor procedure called osseous surgery can clean out all the infected tissues, remove the bacteria, and eliminate the infection.
Keeping Yourself & Your Gums Healthy
To keep your gums healthy and your immune system strong, be sure to practice great at-home oral hygiene habits like:
- Brushing your teeth for two minutes twice a day.
- Flossing between all your teeth daily.
- Rinsing with a fluoridated antiseptic mouthwash regularly.
- Eating a nutritious, low-sugar diet.
- Staying hydrated with plain water.
Now more than ever, it’s important to be on the lookout for early warning signs of gum disease. If you notice symptoms like inflamed, sensitive, or easily bleeding gums, you should contact your local Tallahassee periodontist right away. They’ve established a range of new COVID-19 infection control protocols to ensure you are as safe as possible should you need to come in to take care of your smile.