Dental practitioners have been warning patients about the risks that come with poor oral healthcare for years. Fortunately, the medical community at large has taken notice. New studies show that bacterias in the mouth can make the body more susceptible to serious diseases including Covid-19. Read on to learn about these new discoveries and their consequences.
A Healthy Mouth Can Defend Against Viruses
If an individual maintains a proper oral healthcare regimen, their mouth can play a crucial role in maintaining the overall health of the body. Naturally occurring proteins that exist in the mouth can serve as the first line of defense against viral infection. However, if a patient is suffering from periodontal disease, the resulting bacteria can break down those proteins3. This leads to weakened defenses, making patients much more likely to succumb to everything from the common cold to Covid-19.
Studies have proven that some of the bacteria caused by diseases such as gingivitis can suppress the body’s natural ability to produce this defense mechanism. Plaque build up makes it difficult for these proteins to function and their full capacity1.
How Periodontal Disease Can Lead To More Serious Issues
The link between periodontal disease and the cardiovascular system has become a hot topic of discussion in medical circles. It is believed that excessive bacteria in the mouth can actually travel to other parts of the body through the cardiovascular system2. This means that in addition to the known consequences of periodontal diseases, patients may find themselves at a higher risk for potentially deadly conditions including heart attack and stroke. Periodontal disease can also lead to a higher probability of a patient developing HIV, HPV, or Herpes Simplex, each of which comes with its own very serious effects1.
How The Problem Is Being Addressed
While most patients are aware that they could do more to maintain proper oral health, many of them remain uniformed about the correlation between the a healthy mouth and a healthy body. Dental practitioners have made a concerted effort to educate their patients about these serious issues. Additionally, a growing number of general practitioners are incorporating basic oral health checkups into routine visits. It is hoped that these combined efforts will help patients understand the need to take oral healthcare seriously, making them significantly less likely to experience serious health problems later on in life.
- (2022, January 5). How oral bacteria suppress protection against viral growth. ScienceDaily. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2022/01/220105094341.htm
- The link between gum disease and heart disease. Penn Medicine. (n.d.). Retrieved March 11, 2022, from https://www.pennmedicine.org/updates/blogs/heart-and-vascular-blog/2019/march/gum-disease-and-heart-disease
- Carlos J. Rodriguez-Hernandez, Kevin J. Sokoloski, Kendall S. Stocke, Himabindu Dukka, Shunying Jin, Melissa A. Metzler, Konstantin Zaitsev, Boris Shpak, Daonan Shen, Daniel P. Miller, Maxim N. Artyomov, Richard J. Lamont, Juhi Bagaitkar. Microbiome-mediated incapacitation of interferon lambda production in the oral mucosa. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2021; 118 (51): e2105170118 DOI: 1073/pnas.2105170118