COVID-19’s greatest danger is the damage it can cause in the lungs. Along with issues like difficulty of breathing and weeks of fatigue, throughout the pandemic we’ve continued to learn other issues the virus can cause.
Along with issues like weeks of fatigue, the loss of taste or smell, hair loss and even “COVID Toes”, now there are anecdotal instances that indicate the infection may also have an adverse impact on oral health. People are reporting to their doctors and dentists and across social media stories about new damage and problems regarding their teeth and gums, including tooth loss, discoloration and more.
Some health experts suspect that the coronavirus may directly infect the blood vessels and disrupt blood flow to our gums, teeth and tongue, causing pain and decay. There are reports of teeth that have turned gray or become loose, and gums that are painful and sensitive. Much of the time, these patients have no other known oral issues and are seemingly healthy.
What could be the explanation? Some epidemiologists and biologists suspect that the dental deterioration in COVID-19 patients could ultimately be a problem with blood flow.
The coronavirus infects and attacks blood vessels. This can lead to clogged blood flow and blood clots. When blood isn’t able to reach organs, damage can occur. That’s why the virus causes complications within the heart, lungs, intestine, brain, kidneys, and – it seems – the mouth.
While the inside of the tooth is the dental pulp, or the “living, breathing part of the tooth” that is packed with blood vessels along with nerves, the gums are also vascularized.
The underlying vascular damage that COVID-19 wreaks on the body can persist even after the disease is gone, and over time it can cause dental flare-ups.
So even if you’ve enjoyed a lifetime of good oral health, your dental health could suddenly be at risk after you’ve tested positive for the coronavirus. This is just one more reason why being prepared with dental insurance is so important. And even if you’ve been lucky enough to avoid getting COVID, everyone should be prepared for sudden oral issues.