Gum disease can increase your chances of getting Coronavirus, and can increase the chances of higher-risk symptoms. Learn more from Dr. Nammy Patel on this podcast.
John Maher: Hi, I’m John Maher. And I’m here today with Dr. Nammy Patel, founder of Green Dentistry in San Francisco, California. Helping patients recognize the vital connection between dental health and full body health and author of the best-selling book Age With Style: Guide to a Youthful Smile and Healthy Living. Today our topic is gum disease and COVID-19. Welcome Dr. Nammy.
Dr. Nammy Patel: Hi John.
The Connection Between Gum Disease and COVID-19
John: Dr. Nammy, is there a connection between gum disease and health problems that are resulting from COVID-19?
Dr. Nammy: Absolutely John. It is so imperative to realize that your mouth is a window to your body, and it is connected to every organ, every cell in the entire body, and it starts with saliva and fluids. One of the things with COVID is that it enters the nose, goes to the back of the mouth and then into the lungs. If somebody has gum disease means that they have really a lot of bad bacteria and there some really bad bacteria in gum disease. They’re snake-like, wiggly ones, and they’re very toxic.
If somebody is diagnosed with COVID and hasn’t been to the dentist and has active gum disease, what happens is those snake-like little bacteria actually have access to the entire respiratory system. So what they do is they actually put… There’s a higher risk of a patient going on ventilator if they contract COVID and have gum disease, because you now have two comorbidities.
It’s really important to make sure you go into the dentist and make sure that you are free of gum disease and making sure you’re taking good care of yourself and stay away from COVID. Make sure you’re sanitizing your hands and wearing your mask, minimizing contact, boosting your immune system.
How To Ensure You Have Healthy Gums
John: Right. So what are some of the ways that you can ensure that you have good gum health? And that that ensures that if I do get COVID, maybe I’m less likely to develop these major problems and things like that. What are some ways that I can ensure that my gums are nice and healthy?
Dr. Nammy: The most important things you can do at home is use an electric toothbrush, make sure that a lot of the bacteria is being removed. And the key is to make sure to use that electric toothbrush for three minutes. Hold the toothbrush on each tooth for about three seconds and then move your way across. That timing is really important because that’s how much time and motion you need in order to move the bacteria.
The second is to make sure to use one tablespoon of peroxide and something called a Waterpik. It’s a water flosser, it squirts water in between the teeth. And as I was sharing with you earlier, the snake-like little bacteria that are in gum disease, what happens is when they get exposed to peroxide and one tablespoon approximate in between the gums, what it does, it kills them off. That is the best thing that you can do in order to make sure that you stay safe and making sure you can avoid a ventilator.
The other thing I recommend is to make sure your mouth is moist. One of the other things that makes patients more prone to being on a ventilator with COVID, gum disease and mouth issues is really a dry mouth. When somebody has a dry mouth has gum disease, they’re even more likely to make sure that that bacteria is aspirated into the lungs and the need of the ventilator is increased. Make sure you use an electric toothbrush, use a Waterpik, and then also make sure your mouth is moist. That means that putting some coconut oil on the gums before you go to bed or drinking tons of water and that dry mouth is even more increased because we’re all wearing masks. And when we’re wearing masks, it’s hard to breathe through the nose, so people are mouth breathing, which is creating a perfect environment for these bacteria to grow.
John: Okay. That’s really great information, Doctor Nammy. Thanks again for speaking with me today.
Dr. Nammy: My pleasure John.
John: And for more information about Green Dentistry, visit the website at sfgreendentist.com or call (415) 433-0119.