Oral Health in the Age of COVID

We are all tired of living in a pandemic, social distancing, missing our friends, our family and even our co-workers. Living so isolated has affected us in many ways. For some, new healthy habits have emerged from this past year. But for many the isolation has brought on habits that are not favorable. Many people are eating poorly, living more sedentary than they once were, and personal hygiene is at an all-time low. Biofilm (“plaque”) builds up on the teeth leading to a plethora of oral and systemic health conditions. 

  • Periodontal disease is the leading cause of tooth loss and often has no signs or symptoms until the disease is severe. Left uncontrolled periodontal disease increases risks for heart disease, diabetes, stroke and even Alzheimer’s/dementia.
  • Lack of dental care and personal hygiene can cause or exacerbate periodontal disease and cause cavities. Missing routine check-ups can lead to these issues going undiagnosed turning small problems into larger ones with a more costly solution.
  • Stress-induced inflammation is seen as a result of the stress many are facing during this pandemic and plays a huge role in gum health.
  • Clenching and grinding is another result of stress that can cause fractured/broken teeth, gum recession, fatigue and jaw pain.
  • Cracked teeth often have no symptoms until the tooth breaks requiring more extensive treatment.
  • TMJ pain, clicking and popping are some symptoms of an underlying bite issue or can be stress-induced.
  • Weight gain can exacerbate sleep apnea, increasing risks for high blood pressure, heart disease and stroke.
  • Poor diet can cause inflammation throughout the body, including the gums, and cause tooth decay. 
Dr. Julie Spaniel.
Dr. Julie Spaniel.

Check in with your oral health care provider to learn about your oral health status and what you can do to improve or maintain a healthy mouth and a healthy body. Along with checking for periodontal disease and cavities, your oral health care provider will perform a cancer screening and look for signs of sleep apnea. We now have the latest, most efficient technology in dental hygiene, Guided Biofilm Therapy (GBT). This pain-free method of cleaning gently removes all the plaque from above and below the gumline better than traditional methods. Unlike traditional methods, GBT can clean the gum tissue, leading to improved oral health. Our office features this technology along with our one-of-a-kind COVID-19 safe clean room dentistry. 

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Sarah Ramer
Sarah Ramer, RDH, BSDH is the lead hygienist at Summerwood Family Dental with over 10 years experience in dental hygiene, specializing in periodontal treatment including Guided Biofilm Therapy. She and Dr. Julie Spaniel practice with an emphasis on educating their patients on the benefits of whole-body health and wellness and the link to oral health.