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COVID-19 can lead to bad oral health

People put off going to the dentist during pandemic
Philippe Hujoel
Posted at 9:21 AM, May 16, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-16 10:50:46-04

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — The COVID-19 pandemic has been hard on folks in a number of different ways. The impact of the novel coronavirus has been widespread.

One area it's caused issues is with dental health.

Whether you contracted COVID-19 or just stayed away from dental offices to avoid from catching it, now is the time to set an appointment to get checked out.

"Once we opened back up, I saw a lot of patients coming in, and a pretty common things they would tell me is 'I haven't been to the dentist in a while because of COVID and the pandemic.' " said Smiley Dental and Orthodontics' Dr. Chris Shin.

Shin said it's been busy since COVID-19 restrictions have eased. As patients return for dental appointments, he's seen an increase in dental caries or cavities and more oral infections. For many it had been more than a year since their last visit.

If it's been 12 months or longer since your last visit, you could be at high risk for cavities that are undiagnosed.

Shin says cavities have been most prevalent among those returning to the dental chair. He's also noticed more people needing crowns and dentures.

According to the World Health Organization, cavities are the most prevalent disease in the world. In a bad-case scenario, poor oral health could lead to having teeth pulled, gum disease or worse. According to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, there's a correlation between dental bacteria and bacteria found in heart disease.

"One year to two years — it's been a while since they have been to the dentist," he said. "A lot of the reason for not coming in was because of COVID, or because of a family member who had pre-existing conditions, so they wanted to be safe around them."

Other impacts of missing dental visits include dry mouth, oral ulceration and gingivitis — All issues that could be avoided.

Shin advises getting a check-up and cleaning every six months to ensure your oral health isn't impacted.

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