COVID-19 Treatment and Your Oral Health
You or your loved ones may be experiencing the lingering symptoms of dry mouth and other oral conditions after being treated or hospitalized for COVID-19.
Dry mouth symptoms range from mild discomfort to significant oral disease that can compromise normal salivary flow, affecting taste, chewing, and tooth sensitivity, and lead to oral infections, according to the American Dental Association.
Pandemic-related hospitalizations have resulted in almost 84% of patients showing oral side effects three months later, according to the Journal of Dental Research. Ongoing studies will clarify the connections between COVID-19 and oral disorders, but it’s known that COVID-19 can inflame salvatory glands, while intubation and some medications used to fight the disease can result in dry mouth.
Saliva helps keep your mouth healthy because it helps neutralize harmful acids, kills germs, and lubricates your mouth to help you chew and digest food. Here are a few ways you can keep it flowing, and fight dry mouth:
- Sip water with meals to help chew and swallow food.
- Chew sugar-free gum or suck on sugar-free hard candies to stimulate saliva.
- Limit caffeine, tobacco, alcohol, and sugary drinks.
- Maintain your oral care between dental visits by brushing twice a day with a soft-bristled brush, and floss at least once.
Your dentist can help identify and treat oral health problems early, so keep those preventive care appointments. TRICARE Dental Program (TDP) enrollees are covered for two routine dental exams, two routine dental cleanings, and two topical fluoride treatments in a consecutive 12-month period. For more about TDP benefits, visit www.uccitdp.com.