The Role Periodontal Disease Plays In COVID-19
The entire world is in a tizzy over the COVID19 virus. It’s big news. And it has put just about everyone in the clenches of fear. While I acknowledge that COVID19 is an easily communicable virus with deadly effects, I also want to acknowledge that those who get the virus, and more importantly those who die from getting it, have pre-existing health conditions that make them more vulnerable than someone in robust health with a strong immune system.
The most vulnerable conditions that make people susceptible to getting the virus are underlying diseases, advanced age, obesity, smoking, heart disease, cancer, drug and alcohol use and abuse, among others. Now, if you were to examine any of the individuals who have gotten the disease and those I’ve just described as being most vulnerable, you are likely to discover they all have one thing in common: periodontal disease.
Periodontal disease is not a disease that you hear people talking about, yet it is coming to be acknowledged as being the root cause for pretty much all of the diseases everyone does clamor about. From diabetes to strokes to heart disease, periodontal disease is more than likely an issue too, but not part of the health discussion. The prospect that dental infections might predispose one for more serious viral episodes including the common flu is not at all far-fetched.
More than 50% of the American population over 30 years of age have periodontal disease. And it gets more prevalent with age. This may be one reason children have fewer complications with COVID-19. Their gums and teeth are in better condition. Periodontal disease is a chronic inflammation and infection that when left untreated permeates the entire bodily system.
Ultimately, a healthy immune system is the best defense against any old and new disease. Good oral health provides a strong foundation for overall health. Integrative practitioners and biological dentists are playing a critical role in helping patients restore and maintain more robust immune system function critical for surviving any infection.