COVID-19 Not Just a Respiratory Problem: How SARS-CoV-2 Can Affect Your Oral Health

For over two years, Covid-19 has affected millions of lives in the United States and around the world.  Though most attention has rightfully been paid to respiratory and cardiovascular manifestations of the virus, as dental professionals we cannot overlook the potential for negative dental health effects and oral manifestations of SARS-CoV-2.  Because Covid-19 enters human cells via the ACE2 enzyme, the mouth, and more specifically the mucosal lining, has long since been thought to possess a high degree of susceptibility to SARS-CoV-2 infection due to the high level of ACE2 expression.1. The question then for the patient to ask is, “What does this mean for me and my oral health?”  The answers may surprise you!

Through an analysis of 169 total cases over 26 articles from 15 countries, Fakhruddin et al1 attempted to determine the overall prevalence of oral presentation of Covid-19, a virus which has, since it first arrived on the scene, been thought of primarily as a respiratory and cardiovascular disease.   However, one of the key symptoms of Covid-19 has been reported to be a loss of taste, occurring in over 70% of the cases explored.1In over 50% of the cases studied, ulcers developed on either the tongue, palate, buccal mucosa, gingivae, and lips.  19% of the time, candidal type lesions developed accompanied by burning of the mouth.  In addition, ulcers and dead gum tissue was also noted in those individuals who had poor oral hygiene prior to a severe Covid infection.

Though these results are alarming, it is likely they are due to the effects of SARS-CoV-2 on the immune system or medications used to treat the disease rather than the disease itself.  Despite Covid-19 not directly causing these oral pathologies, it underlines the importance of maintaining good oral hygiene and the growing understanding of the mouth body connection.

COVID-19 and its treatment options can cause adverse effects on the immune system, potentially compromising your oral health!

If you are having any oral health issues, particularly if you are a recovering patient of COVID-19, make sure you call our office to schedule your consultation with Dr. Penhaskashi!  Call us at 818-788-7091 or visit minimallyinvasiveperio.com.

1.Fakhruddin KS, Samaranayake LP, Buranawat B, Ngo H (2022) Oro-facial mucocutaneous manifestations of Coronavirus Disease-2019 (COVID-19): A systematic review. PLoS ONE 17(6): e0265531. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0265531

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