Don't let your dental health slip! Regular check-ups can help keep your teeth and gums in good condition. Learn how they can save your smile!
As we age, regular check-ups become increasingly important for our overall health. This is especially true when it comes to our oral health, as dental issues can be a sign of underlying medical conditions. Regular check-ups can help identify potential problems before they become serious, and can help save your smile.
When you visit your dentist for a regular check-up, they will perform a thorough examination of your teeth and gums. This includes checking for cavities, gum disease, and other issues that can cause pain and discomfort. The dentist will also look for signs of tooth decay, which can lead to more serious problems if left untreated. These check-ups are also important for detecting signs of oral cancer, which is more common in older adults.
Regular check-ups also allow your dentist to identify any potential problems before they become serious. For example, if your dentist notices that one of your teeth is slightly misaligned, they may suggest orthodontic treatment to help straighten the tooth. This can prevent it from becoming more crooked, which can lead to pain and difficulty when eating.
When it comes to your oral health, prevention is the best medicine. By regularly visiting your dentist and taking good care of your teeth and gums, you can help to maintain a healthy smile for years to come.
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Gum disease linked to increased rates of complications, hospitalization, and death among patients with severe cases of COVID-19
Infected and inflamed gums may result in higher rates of complications and more fatal outcomes for individuals diagnosed with the SARS-COV-2 virus, according to a new international study led by McGill researchers recently published in the Journal of Clinical Periodontology. The study suggests that gum disease may be associated with higher risks of complications from COVID-19, including ICU admission and death.
Researchers discovered that COVID-19 patients with gum disease were 3.5 times more likely to be admitted to the intensive care unit, 4.5 times more likely to need a ventilator, and 8.8 times more likely to die when comparing to those without gum disease. Until now, no other research has been published about the destructive effects of gum disease in patients with COVID-19.
“Looking at the conclusions of our study we can highlight the importance of good oral health in the prevention and management of COVID-19 complications,” explains Belinda Nicolau, contributing author and Full Professor in the Faculty of Dentistry at McGill University. “There is a very strong correlation between periodontitis and disease outcome.”
What is periodontitis?
Periodontitis, also referred to as gum disease, is a serious infection of the gums that damages supporting tissues of the teeth and if left unmanaged can lead to bone loss. Gum disease is the most common dental problem in Canadians, with seven out of ten affected to some degree in their lives. However, it is largely preventable by maintaining good oral hygiene through daily brushing and flossing and getting regular dental check-ups.
“Periodontitis has been considered as a risk factor for a number of both oral and systemic diseases,” explains Wenji Cai, co-author and PhD student from Faculty of Dentistry. “It's an invisible pandemic. We need to raise awareness of the disease and make more effort to maintain periodontal health, especially during this global pandemic.”
The study also found that blood levels of biomarkers which indicate inflammation in the body were significantly higher in COVID-19 patients with gum disease, which may explain the higher rates of complications for those patients. “Periodontitis causes inflammation of the gums and, if left untreated, that inflammation can spread throughout the body,” says Cai. “In patients with severe cases of COVID-19, the virus causes an inflammatory response that can lead to complications such as being intubated or even death. Our research shows that periodontitis can exacerbate this.”
This observational study crossed dental records with medical records of patients with severe cases of COVID-19 in Qatar between February and July 2020. “We included 568 patients in our study and took various factors into consideration, such as demographic, medical or behaviour factors, to avoid biases,” adds Cai. “In Qatar the medical and dental records happened to be digitized, which made it possible to collect data and conduct this research swiftly.”
The results of this multi-national study stem from a cooperation between researchers from McGill University, Complutense University of Madrid, Hamas Medical Corporation of Qatar and Qatar University. The research team continues to expand data collection to strengthen the study.