We’re nearing the two-year mark since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, and while the virus attacks the respiratory system, it can also affect other areas throughout the body, including the mouth. Those who have contracted COVID-19 and recovered may have little to no lingering side effects. However, others may have what’s called “long-COVID” and continue to have lasting symptoms. In fact, according to your dentist in Austin, some of these side effects can show in the mouth and cause some additional unwanted problems.
Dry mouth can be caused by any number of reasons and isn’t solely related to COVID-19. However, both those who have contracted COVID-19 and those who haven’t might be experiencing more dry mouth than normal. One explanation for this is that the virus can affect saliva production and cause your glands to produce less saliva. This can result in a dry mouth.
Another possible explanation is the wearing of facemasks. Masks can make people feel as if they need to breathe out of their mouth instead of their nose, reducing saliva and making the mouth feel dry. Please note, this is not a good enough reason to forego the mask. Instead, your dentist in Austin suggests drinking plenty of water throughout the day, chewing sugarless gum, and trying to breathe out of your nose.
COVID is an infection, and whenever there is an infection, the body will respond by sending blood carrying white blood cells to the area to help fight it off. While this can help ward off dangerous intruders, it can also cause inflammation in the body. This inflammation can also occur in the mouth, specifically in the gums. Inflammation in the gums can result in swelling, tenderness, and bleeding. But that’s not all. It’s important to know that there is, and always has been, a connection between gum inflammation and whole-body health. For example, gum disease on its own increases the risk of respiratory disease, stroke, and heart disease. However, your dentist in Austin can help catch and treat gum disease or potential gum disease before or after a COVID-19 diagnosis.
Patients who have had COVID are more likely to experience mouth ulcers or sores, sometimes for months after their recovery. Since COVID affects the respiratory system, which starts in the mouth, this isn’t surprising. Ulcers and sores in COVID long-haulers can range in severity, and some may even develop “COVID tongue.” COVID tongue symptoms include raised tastebuds, flattened tastebuds, or a burning feeling. Now, most ulcers should go away on their own. If you notice an ulcer that lasts longer than two weeks, contact your dentist in Austin for a checkup.
Many patients may have missed a dental appointment or two during the past two years, but it’s always important to see a dentist at least every six months, especially if you notice any oral health side effects of post-COVID.