involve some degree of oral disruption, he shares.
While it’s not clear how long oral symptoms may persist, it appears they can be part of the constellation of symptoms known as “long COVID.” The term refers to patients who continue to struggle with COVID-related health issues months after recovering from many of their initial symptoms.
Maintaining your oral health
Oral health issues have arisen before during the pandemic — as many patients have put off routine checkups.
Hewlett says even those unaffected by COVID-related issues should keep in mind that maintaining good oral health is a key to overall health. Translation: Don’t let a fear of COVID lead to a slide in continuing dental care.
“Going to the dentist has been demonstrated to be very safe from the perspective of COVID-19 infection risk,” he says.
That advice was seconded by Dr. Shervin Molayem, a periodontist and implant surgeon who is also director of the Mouth Body Research Institute in Los Angeles.
“People still haven’t been to dental offices, even though it’s been a year” since the onset of the pandemic, he notes.
“They’ve thrown off their dental routine,” he adds. And the result is an uptick in bleeding gums, periodontal disease, and the ill effects of tooth grinding.
“What’s causing their tooth-grinding at night is likely their secondary stress from the actual disease,” Molayem says. That means COVID-related stress has the potential to cause jaw pain (TMJ), as well as cracked and chipped teeth.
His bottom-line: pandemic or no pandemic, make dental care a priority.
If you are concerned about your oral health, you should seek a dentist or specialist for evaluation. The American Dental Association has more information on COVID-19 and oral health.