Up to 23 million Americans could be impacted by long COVID symptoms . These are people who are still experiencing symptoms four weeks after their initial infection of the virus. Even if you’ve had a mild or asymptomatic COVID-19 infection, it’s possible that you could experience inflammation and an impacted stress response even 40 days later .
Also called post-COVID or chronic COVID, long COVID has the ability to impact your body, your mental health, and your dental health. Here’s what you need to know about long COVID and your oral health, as well as how you can get the care you need while managing your symptoms.
How Long COVID-19 Can Impact Your Oral Health
Post-COVID symptoms can impact your oral health in a few ways.
- Reduced Ability to Heal From Dental Procedures. Some patients with post-COVID symptoms may have trouble healing due to an impacted immune system and other changes in the body, which could impact their healing from necessary dental procedures .
- Disrupted Balance of Oral Bacteria. Since your immune system responds to disruptions in oral bacteria, your body may not be able to keep good and bad bacteria in check if your immune system is impacted from COVID-19, which can potentially lead to an increased risk for tooth decay or oral infections .
- Ability to Withstand Dental Treatment. If you’re experiencing fatigue, chronic pain, or respiratory symptoms from a previous COVID-19 infection, you may not be able to sit through traditional dental procedures such as teeth cleanings or more involved treatments.
Your Dentist Is Your Partner in Oral Care While Managing Long COVID-19
Skipping the dentist because you are still experiencing symptoms isn’t a long-term option for your smile. Even if you have post-COVID symptoms, you still need oral care to keep your smile healthy, so don’t skip your exams and cleanings.
Your dentist is your partner in helping you take care of your smile even while you’re managing long COVID. Let your dentist know what you’re experiencing and they will help you get the care you need. Even if you can only make it in for an exam and not a cleaning, it can be an important step in identifying issues and protecting your smile. You can always schedule a separate appointment for your teeth cleaning or additional procedures.
Your dentist can also help you manage ongoing symptoms of long COVID-19 as they pertain to your oral health, such as dry mouth or mouth lesions . Your dentist can also help tailor your treatment with regard to any medications you may be taking for your symptoms.
Are You Still Experiencing COVID-19 Symptoms?
If you’re still experiencing symptoms from COVID even after recovering from the acute stages of infection, don’t ignore your dental care. You can still get the treatment you need even while managing long COVID. Contact your dentist today to ask what your options are for getting the treatment you need even while dealing with your ongoing symptoms.