Access to dental care has been limited because of the coronavirus disease pandemic (COVID-19). Quarantine restrictions caused lifestyle changes where some people were encouraged to live a sedentary way of life, consuming unhealthy food choices and sugary beverages.
The said changes have resulted in an increase in dental problems leading to cavity formation and gum problems. Some studies have linked SARS-Cov-2 to poor oral hygiene, where poor oral hygiene is believed to be a determining factor for the severity of a patient's condition.
A background on COVID-19
COVID-19 is transmitted from one infected person to another in various ways. But to put it simply, infected droplets are passed when they reach the eyes, nose or mouth's soft tissues. The virus is then absorbed into the body.
The initial symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, fatigue, dry cough, sore throat and diarrhea. In severe cases, pneumonia is also observed. This causes reduced blood oxygen that affects organs like the kidney and the heart. As you may have noticed, the lungs are also primarily affected, which leads to other complications. Another distinct symptom of COVID-19 is diarrhea. It causes stomach irritation. However, please note that there is no evidence supporting that the virus is passed through food.
COVID-19 and oral hygiene
You may have asked: what’s the connection of COVID-19 and dental hygiene? Let's now dive deeper into this topic.
1) Balanced microbiome and infectious bacteria
Maintaining a balanced oral microbiome helps fight infectious bacteria that lands in the mouth. The community of microorganisms produce enzymes that can fight pathogens and promote the growth of their co-living microorganisms.
Streptococcus Gordonii, for example, produces hydrogen peroxide that kills foreign bacteria. However, this also contributes to the formation of biofilms that causes oral problems. When left unchecked, S Gordonii, together with other cariogenic bacteria, will attach themselves to the teeth's surface, slowly eroding the tooth, creating pockets. These pockets are a gaping entry point for pathogens like COVID-19.
A balanced oral microbiome is sustained with proper oral hygiene. A balanced microbiome ensures that you have a healthy number of microorganisms that are equipped to fight against foreign bacteria and viruses.
2) Salivary glands and foreign pathogens
Normal secretion of the salivary glands is also an essential factor in combating foreign pathogens. Human saliva contains some antiviral proteins and peptides that are effective in fighting viruses. Salivary cystatins are documented to prevent coronavirus replication.
Aside from this, human saliva contains 98% water with a pH ranging from 6.2 to 7.6. This neutralizes the acids in the mouth while leaving a thin protective covering on the teeth and mucosal walls. An average saliva production should also be able to transfer bacteria down the pharynx to the gut, where it is eliminated by the stomach acid and bacteriocins produced by the microflora of the gut.
3) COVID-19 severity and poor oral hygiene
The mucosal surface of the mouth is an entry point for microbes that affects the respiratory (lungs), digestive (stomach), reproductive and urinary tract. A typical balanceof microorganisms living in the mouth will not cause diseases. However, with oral cavities and periodontitis, there is an increased number of bacteria living inside the oral cavity.
The increase in the number of bacteria leads to a higher risk of inter-bacterial exchange between the mouth and the lungs. An example is with gum diseases, the dead tissues produce an enzyme called cytokine, which is aspirated into the lungs, causing lung infection and pneumonia. This scenario plays the same role in how oral diseases affect COVID-19 patients.
A study shows that a high oral viral and bacterial load leads to a higher risk of contracting pneumonia, sepsis and septic shock in COVID-19 patients. This increases the severity of the infection leading to the demise of the patient.
How to maintain good oral hygiene
Reduce the risk of catching COVID-19 by practicing simple methods that will help improve your oral health.
1) Brush and floss regularly
Brush your teeth at least twice a day with a toothpaste and a toothbrush that has soft bristles. For areas that can’t be reached by your toothbrush such as the space between the teeth and gums, remember to floss daily or wash with mouthwash. Thoroughly remove plaque that may build up in your mouth by wrapping your floss around both sides of each tooth and doing a push-pull motion.
2) Avoid food and drinks that are high in sugar
Food and drinks that are high in sugar encourage plaque growth, a sticky film of bacteria which can disturb a normal microbiome. Instead of taking in food and drinks that are high in sugar, consider hydrating yourself with plenty of water and eating a balanced diet loaded with vitamins that will help keep your mouth healthy.
3) Use Lumoral twice a week
Lumoral is a home solution that fights the accumulation of bacteria in the mouth. Lumoral uses dual-light photodynamic therapy that is effective in reducing cariogenic and periodontal pathogens. It is designed with 48-custom made LED light source, with carefully selected LED light wavelengths to prevent plaque and gum diseases.
Streptococcus mutans is the leading cause of biofilm formation and a key culprit in cavity formation. Lumoral prevents the formation of biofilms at its planktonic level by targeting Streptococcus mutans weak spot, preventing its development. Lumoral's dental care system helps maintain a balanced oral microbiome. It is safe and effective and leaves the normal flora of the mouth unaffected.
In addition to regular tooth brushing and flossing, using Lumoral twice a week is proven to decrease gingival bleeding and cavity formation.
Prevent the risk of contracting the COVID-19 virus with a healthy mouth.
Lumoral is recommended by dentists around the world to support dental hygiene. Using the latest PDT technology, it is effective against cavities and periodontitis-causing bacteria. Get a fresh breath and a naturally bright smile. Get Lumoral today and enjoy free shipping Australia-wide.