Can COVID-19 Affect Your Teeth?

As you schedule an appointment for your dental implants in Philadelphia, you might be wondering if the coronavirus influences the health of your teeth. After all, the dangerous virus has been shown to cause tremendous damage to other parts of a victim’s body, such as their lungs. However, there is no definitive evidence of the effects of COVID-19 on teeth, as we are still learning more about COVID-19 every day. Many who have contracted the virus have reported damage to their oral health, and even those afflicted who no longer have the virus have noted changes to their oral health. Here’s a look at several ways the virus can incur damage to oral health after the coronavirus.

COVID-19 Might Impact Blood Flow in the Mouth

One theorized connection between COVID-19 and teeth is the virus’s negative impact on the body’s blood flow. Healthy blood circulation is an essential bodily function. It allows for red blood cells to deliver oxygen throughout the body, white blood cells to conquer diseases, nutrients to flow to vital locations, and more. However, the coronavirus has proven to disrupt blood circulation throughout the infected body, creating clots and unhealthy flows in their system. This detriment can cause a wide variety of problems in one’s oral health, as the teeth and gums may not receive the proper amount of blood they need to stay healthy. Additionally, the jaw contains many blood vessels that can also be hit hard by the lack of necessary blood that the virus creates. The pain and damage caused by the hurt blood vessels may also linger and create long-term problems long after a patient’s initial infection.

ACE2 Receptors in Teeth May Be Susceptible to COVID-19

Another possible connection between COVID-19 and teeth is the presence of ACE2 receptors. These special proteins are located in several areas throughout the body, including the mouth and lungs, and assist with vascular activities. While they’re usually a helpful protein, the coronavirus can take advantage of them to wreak havoc throughout the body. The virus can hook onto the ACE2 receptors in the mouth, duplicate itself, and cause serious infections. Because many of these receptors are located in the mouth, it may be susceptible to the virus. Some scientists speculate that disruptions in the healthy functioning of ACE2 receptors can lead to a cytokine storm, where the human body’s immune system erroneously attacks itself. 

Additionally, those who have poor dental hygiene are known to have more ACE2 receptors in their mouths. It has been shown the coronavirus may latch onto tooth cavities, so receiving proper dental care is one way to protect oral health after an infection.

The Coronavirus May Harm Teeth in a Variety of Ways

One’s oral health after coronavirus can be hampered in several ways. There have been many reports of COVID-19 and teeth damage, so some believe the virus can cause poor dental health. Here are three of the potential ways that the virus might hurt the teeth of an affected person.

Potential Damage to Tooth Enamel

Tooth enamel can potentially weaken from COVID-19. The enamel of a tooth is the protective outer layer that shields a tooth’s insides from things like extreme temperatures and regular use while eating. Some people infected by the coronavirus have reported enamel loss, which increases the sensitivity of the inner teeth and can make chewing discomforting, though whether or not there is a direct link between the virus and damaged enamel has yet to be determined.

Possible Tooth Chipping 

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, dentists have found a notable increase in tooth chipping and grinding. While these traits have been found in those suffering from an infection, the rise in chipping might be caused by anxiety brought about by the pandemic.

Chance of Tooth Loss

One of the most impactful dental issues the coronavirus can possibly create is teeth falling out. Because of the obstructed blood flow, teeth may no longer receive the nutrients they need to function and become loose. Numerous COVID-19 victims reported one or more of their adult teeth falling out, with some reporting that there was no blood present when it fell; potential evidence of poor blood circulation.

COVID-19 May Also Hurt Gums

Another potential influence of oral health after coronavirus is poor gum quality. Some people infected by the virus reported their gums were weakened, possibly because of the lack of proper blood flow. It’s also possible for Gingivitis, or gum inflammation, to occur because of COVID-19. However, it has not been observed in many patients and may be symptomatic of poor dental hygiene.

If you’re seeking to receive or repair veneers in Philadelphia and the surrounding area, contact the Center City Emergency Dentists today for help!

Do DIY Teeth Whitening Methods Actually Work?

Whiter teeth are a major goal for some, and you may have come across a number of DIY methods. The big question is: does DIY teeth whitening work? In some cases, the answer is yes, but many will damage your teeth.

Oil Pulling

Oil pulling is often touted as a cure for a wide range of conditions and diseases, so it’s perhaps inevitable that it would become linked with teeth whitening. There is some evidence that oil pulling can help with general oral health, but this is mostly due to a reduction of bacteria, plaque sores, and gingival sores.

Unfortunately, there isn’t any evidence linking it to actual teeth whitening.

Baking Soda

Baking soda is a constituent of many popular kinds of toothpaste, so a large number of people believe that pure baking soda would be even better. There is some good evidence that toothpaste containing small amounts of baking soda does superficially work to whiten teeth — it’s a mild abrasive, and it does seem to reduce plaque.

However, baking soda simply helps clean your teeth by removing plaque and other debris. There’s no good evidence that it actually does anything to whiten them.

Adding Mild Natural Acids

When searching for DIY teeth whitening that works, you may find links to recipes that involve acidic fruits or apple cider vinegar. Acidic fruits are often used with baking soda, including oranges, lemons, and strawberries. This is so that it has a nice taste.

The baking soda may help, as previously stated, even if it’s only superficial. However, the acid in the fruits applied to the teeth has a decidedly negative effect — they weaken tooth enamel. It’s best to stay far away from this method of natural teeth whitening unless you want to cause even more damage to your teeth. 

Turmeric Combinations

Turmeric is useful and can certainly be good as part of a diet. However, turmeric is better known for staining everything yellow rather than for its cleaning properties. By all means, incorporate more turmeric into your diet. But it won’t make your teeth white.

Adding Peroxide to Baking Soda

This method attempts to replicate what’s in many over-the-counter teeth whitening kits, and again, there is some evidence that it works. Peroxide is a bleaching agent, so if applied properly, it can lighten your teeth.

The key phrase here, however, is “applied properly.” Many recommend a mouthguard filled with hydrogen peroxide and baking soda, or they may just use straight hydrogen peroxide. However, it’s difficult to stay below the safe level of hydrogen peroxide (which is just 3.6%), and if the solution touches your gums, it can blister and burn the gumline.

What About Over-the-Counter Teeth Whitening Kits?

OTC tooth whitening kits generally contain carbamide peroxide, although some contain hydrogen peroxide at very low concentrations. Typically, to get a suitable amount of teeth whitening, you need around 10% carbamide peroxide or 3% hydrogen peroxide. Some teeth whitening products forcing significantly below that.

With appropriate use and a properly fitted dental tray, these products can lighten your teeth somewhat. In order for these DIY teeth whitening products to work, you need to consider how the product will stay in your teeth and whether the tray is fitted to your mouth correctly.

Ultimately, a dentist is the best option when you are looking to whiten your teeth. Center City Emergency Dentist offers cosmetic dentistry as well as general dental care, both of which can help brighten your pearly whites much better than DIY teeth whitening solutions. 

We are also a 24-hour emergency dentists office offering after-hours dental care in Philadelphia and the surrounding areas. Contact us with any questions you have today!

Veneers vs Crowns: Which One Should You Choose?

They say, “Nothing you wear is more important than your smile.” The team at Center City Emergency Dentist couldn’t agree more! That’s why some of the most popular procedures at our Philadelphia location are Invisalign for adults among many other cosmetic dentistry services. If you’re trying to restore your beautiful smile, you might have a hard time picking between veneers and crowns. Below we break down the terms and application process for each, so you can decide which option is best for you.  Continue reading “Veneers vs Crowns: Which One Should You Choose?”

What Are the Causes of Periodontal Disease?

Periodontal disease is a common gum disease affecting half of the adult population in America that causes inflammation in the gums, bone loss, and even tooth loss. This disease starts off as gingivitis and, if left untreated, slowly progresses to periodontal disease. The good news is that it is curable with professional treatments from the best dentists and orthodontists in Philadelphia Continue reading “What Are the Causes of Periodontal Disease?”

Fix Your Smile with Braces or Invisalign

If you’re looking to straighten your teeth, whether you’re a teen or an adult, you are faced with two main choices: braces or Invisalign. Most people tend to jump at the chance of wearing Invisalign because they prefer its discrete nature. While Invisalign is great for fixing small issues, it does not reign supreme for every orthodontic problem. Those who are looking to create a brighter, straighter smile are encouraged to inform themselves about the pros and cons of each orthodontic procedure, as well as consulting with a doctor. Continue reading “Fix Your Smile with Braces or Invisalign”