And, Hewlett added, while it’s not clear how long oral symptoms may persist, it appears they can be part of the constellation of symptoms known as “long COVID.” The term refers to patients who continue to struggle with COVID-related health issues months after recovering from many of their initial symptoms.
Oral health issues have arisen before during the pandemic — as many patients have put off routine checkups.
Hewlett said even those unaffected by COVID-related issues should keep in mind that maintaining good oral health is a key to overall health. Translation: Don’t let a fear of COVID lead to a slide in continuing dental care.
“Going to the dentist has been demonstrated to be very safe from the perspective of COVID-19 infection risk,” he said.
That advice was seconded by Dr. Shervin Molayem, a periodontist and implant surgeon who is also director of the Mouth Body Research Institute in Los Angeles.
“People still haven’t been to dental offices, even though it’s been a year” since the onset of the pandemic, he lamented.
“What’s causing their tooth-grinding at night is likely their secondary stress from the actual disease,” Molayem said. That means COVID-related stress has the potential to cause jaw pain (TMJ), as well as cracked and chipped teeth.
His bottom-line: pandemic or no pandemic, make dental care a priority.
The research review was recently reported in the Journal of Dental Research.
Learn more about COVID-19 and dental health at the American Dental Association.
SOURCE: Edmond Hewlett, DDS, spokesman, American Dental Association, and professor and and associate dean, equity, diversity and inclusion, School of Dentistry, University of California, Los Angeles; Shervin Molayem, DDS, periodontist and implant surgeon, Beverly Hills, Calif., director, Mouth Body Research Institute, Los Angeles; Journal of Dental Research, July 29, 2021