lungs

Does Oral Bacteria Impact COVID-19 Complications?

August 25th, 2020

Scientists and researchers across the globe are in full-force battle mode when it comes to finding out more information about COVID-19 to help beat the virus. Although COVID-19 has brought about many challenges, losses, and uncertainties, it has brought so many individuals and an abundance of knowledge from across the world together, even if simply virtually! This constantly evolving pandemic has helped fuel important research, all sharing a common goal of finding connections and solutions to bringing this outbreak to a close. In the United Kingdom, researchers have explored the potential connection between oral health and COVID-19. The study, “Could There Be a Link Between Oral Hygiene and the Severity of SARS-Cov-2 Infections?,” published in the British Dental Journal, aimed to determine whether health complications and deaths as a result of COVID-19 were linked to oral bacteria and periodontal disease (gum disease). Also, they hoped to learn more about whether or not the amount of bacteria present in the mouth plays a role in the severity of COVID-19, as well as how improving oral health could possibly lower the risk of individuals experiencing detrimental COVID-19 complications. As many researchers have found, COVID-19 seems to impact individuals in differing ways in terms of symptoms and severity of the disease. Some of the common severe complications of coronavirus include pneumonia, heart problems, blood clots, organ failure, acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), and acute kidney injury.

In a healthy mouth, the presence of oral bacteria is natural and exists in harmony with the rest of your body. However, when the bacterial balance becomes out of control, harmful bacteria can not only create problems for your teeth and gums, but also for other parts of your body such as your lungs. The study highlighted several research studies that suggest that bacterial infections were common in individuals with severe COVID-19 symptoms. For instance, a study by Zheng and colleagues found that 50% of patients within their conducted study with severe COVID-19 who passed away also had the presence of a secondary bacterial infection. In addition, a study by Liu and colleagues found similar results, revealing that over 80% of the severe cases of COVID-19 in their study had significantly high bacterial loads as a result of a bacterial superinfection.

The study authors note that tiny droplets of saliva containing oral bacteria that are linked to gum disease, such as Porphyromonas gingivalis (P. gingivalis)Fusobacterium nucleatum (F. nucleatum) and Prevotella intermedia (P. intermedia), can contaminate other areas of your body, for instance the lungs. This can create an inflammatory response throughout the body and increase the risk of many developing other infections and complications. Thus, good oral hygiene practices and management of gum disease has been widely studied and associated with a reduction in the risk of respiratory infections. Not to mention, properly managing gum disease also plays a role in lowering the risks and complications associated with other systemic diseases such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

The authors of the study suggest that taking care of your oral health could particularly go a long way in lowering your risk of developing severe complications from COVID-19. The authors concluded, “We recommend that oral hygiene be maintained, if not improved, during a SARS-CoV-2 infection in order to reduce the bacterial load in the mouth and the potential risk of a bacterial superinfection. We recommend that poor oral hygiene be considered a risk to post-viral complications, particularly in patients already predisposed to altered biofilms due to diabetes, hypertension or cardiovascular disease. Bacteria present in patients with severe COVID-19 are associated with the oral cavity and improved oral hygiene may play a part in reducing the risk of complications.” More research is needed to determine if there is a concrete connection between oral bacteria and COVID-19 complications, as well as the link between gum disease and the virus.

So, don’t forget that your mouth is connected to your entire body, which means keeping up with your overall health goes hand in hand with also maintaining your oral health! Continue to stay safe and healthy.

This pandemic has impacted us all, but our community is indeed all stronger together. Our team at WDG always has your safety and health as our top priority, and we have implemented additional safety measures and equipment to help prevent the transmission of all infections, including COVID-19. Wellesley Dental Group has completely reopened since June 8th, 2020 for all dental procedures and cleanings! Thank you for entrusting your health and dental care to us at Wellesley Dental Group.

Feel free to contact Drs. Ali & Ali and the caring team at Wellesley Dental Group if you have any thoughts or concerns; they will be happy to answer your questions! Contact us today at 781-237-9071 or smile@wellesleydentalgroup.com to set up an appointment.

Your little ones and teens are welcome to visit our pediatric dentist, Dr. Derek, and Dr. Emad is happy to help with your TMJ and orthodontic needs. For wisdom teeth extractions or any other oral surgery needs, Dr. Stephens would love to help, and our gum-specialist Dr. Singh can help with your gum-related concerns.

References:

https://decisionsindentistry.com/2020/08/paper-explores-connection-between-oral-hygiene-severity-covid/?inf_contact_key=de1345513d0cf654b8e4b4892fabc16109c74070ac2bf3cfa7869e3cfd4ff832

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7319209/#!po=12.5000

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7258848/

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/coronavirus/symptoms-causes/syc-20479963#:~:text=%2D%20Pneumonia%20and%20trouble%20breathing,%2D%20Acute%20kidney%20injury.

https://www.vaildentistry.com/blog/whats-living-in-your-mouthand-whats-it-doing-to-your-heart/

https://hickorydentist.com/caring-for-your-oral-health-while-preventing-covid-19/

https://decisionsindentistry.com/covid-19/

Will Nasal Breathing Help Fight Coronavirus?

July 8th, 2020

As the number of COVID-19 cases across the United States continues to rise, scientists and researchers are continuously trying to find ways to help control and beat the virus. Research is currently being conducted to determine if nasal breathing can help lower the risk of contracting coronavirus. You may be wondering, why would breathing through your nose be beneficial?

Interestingly, breathing through your nose and mouth are two completely different methods of breathing. Nasal breathing is connected to your diaphragm and signals a response from your parasympathetic nervous system (PNS), also known as your rest and digest system. The PNS acts on your heart, lungs, and digestive tract. On the other hand, breathing through your oral cavity signals your sympathetic nervous system (SNS), also known as the fight or flight system. The SNS acts in opposition to the PNS, and instead elevates your pulse and breathing rates, while slowing digestion. Breathing through your nose, rather than your mouth, is the best way to receive the optimal amount of oxygen. Here’s why:

Your nose produces nitric oxide, which helps increase the transport of oxygen throughout your body by allowing your blood vessels to dilate. It also helps relax and open your airways in the lungs, acting as a bronchodilator. Nitric oxide is a huge plus to the immune system too, as it has antifungal, antiviral, antiparasitic, and antibacterial effects. In addition, your nasal turbinates function to warm and humidify air as it moves into the lungs, helping to filter and block harmful particles from entering your body.

According to scientists, humming has been found to increase the production of nitrous oxide in the sinus cavities surrounding the nose. Researchers revealed that the sound waves from humming increase the speed of gas exchange, and can help provide some relief for individuals with a sinus infection (Sinusitis). Foods high in nitrates, including leafy green vegetables, beets, and garlic for example, may also increase the concentration of nitrous oxide in the body and provide the same health benefits. In hopes to find treatment and prevention methods against COVID-19, clinical trials have currently begun to investigate the direct application of nitrous oxide to the respiratory system.

It can be hard to breathe through your nose at times, especially when you have sleep apnea, allergies, or are sick and congested, or even when you have your mask on to help fight coronavirus. Having a stuffy nose is a pain, and we often don’t notice how important the nose is until it isn’t functioning properly.  When your airway is obstructed, your mouth naturally opens to allow air flow to your lungs. However, breathing through your mouth doesn’t offer the same benefits as nasal breathing, and can even lead to health problems. Breathing through your mouth increases dehydration and inflammation in the body. Mouth breathing can cause enlarged tonsils/adenoids, dry mouth, bad breath (halitosis), chronic fatigue, irritability, dry lips, periodontal disease, and throat/ear infections, and other conditions. Many studies have also shown that breathing through the mouth can make individuals with asthma experience worse symptoms.

In children, mouth breathing can lead to several physical and cognitive challenges. Children who aren’t treated for mouth breathing can develop misaligned teeth, gummy smiles, facial deformities including long narrow faces/mouths, sleep disorders, lack of concentration, poor posture, or poor growth.

Talk with your dentist if you notice or believe that you or your child is mouth breathing. Practicing nasal breathing makes perfect! Also, be sure to try to reduce your stress levels, as stress can also lead to abnormal breathing patterns.

Breathing through your nose is important for your health! It can be our first line of defense against airborne particles, and is especially important to make a habit during these unprecedented times. While wearing your mask, initiate slow breaths through your nose to help lower the amount of carbon dioxide inhaled. This will help reduce your risk of experiencing trouble breathing, headaches, and dizziness.

This pandemic has impacted us all, but our community is indeed all stronger together. Our team at WDG always has your safety and health as our top priority, and we have implemented additional safety measures and equipment to help prevent the transmission of all infections, including COVID-19. Wellesley Dental Group has completely reopened since June 8th, 2020 for all dental procedures and cleanings! Thank you for entrusting your health and dental care to us at Wellesley Dental Group.

Feel free to contact Drs. Ali & Ali and the caring team at Wellesley Dental Group if you have any thoughts or concerns; they will be happy to answer your questions! Contact us today at 781-237-9071 or smile@wellesleydentalgroup.com to set up an appointment.

Your little ones and teens are welcome to visit our pediatric dentist, Dr. Derek, and Dr. Emad is happy to help with your TMJ and orthodontic needs. For wisdom teeth extractions or any other oral surgery needs, Dr. Stephens would love to help, and our gum-specialist Dr. Singh can help with your gum-related concerns.

References:

https://decisionsindentistry.com/2020/06/nasal-breathing-help-reduce-risk-covid/?inf_contact_key=7a5419cd2ce100bb3ce3a594e8fa09441b0a3f0fd3ee5d9b43fb34c6613498d7

bigstock-Side-View-Profile-Portrait-Of-296792812-1014x487.jpg

https://www.healthline.com/health/mouth-breathing#symptoms

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Take a Deep Breath: Vaping Effects On Your Lungs

October 20th, 2019

Many of us have been following the devastating news of young adult deaths related to vaping across the country. Vaping has recently become an epidemic and major public health issue. With Respiratory Care Week beginning today, October 20th-26th, and  Healthy Lung Month the entire month of October, we would like to highlight all of the necessary information needed to keep our lungs breathing well to last us an entire lifetime!

The statistics on lung disease are disheartening, with greater than 35 million Americans living with a chronic lung disease such as asthma and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). Not to mention, lung cancer is the #1 cause of death related to cancer for both women and men in the U.S. Many lung diseases have been a result of cigarette smoking. Cigarette use has decreased in comparison to the past, however the rise of e-cigarettes/vaping has drastically made its way into society, particularly with young adults. The use of e-cigarettes has been reported by approximately 20% of high school students in the U.S. within the last month. Surprisingly even 5% of middle school students in the U.S. have reported using e-cigarettes within the last month. In Massachusetts, the numbers are even higher: 40% of high school students and 10% of middle school students have used e-cigarettes within the past month. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), over 1000 people have become affected with respiratory issues as a result of vaping. As of today, the CDC reports that there have been 33 deaths in 24 states.

The use of e-cigarettes not only damages lungs and brain development, but also one’s oral health, and it is important to our caring team here at WDG to keep you in the loop and ensure your safety and health. Sadly, vaping has been marketed as a “healthy” alternative to smoking tobacco cigarettes. With research still ongoing, vaping can contain the addictive substance nicotine, and chemical particles within the vapor, including volatile organic compounds, flavoring agents, cancer-causing chemicals, and heavy metals which can all negatively impact your health. Plus, e-cigarettes can cause dry mouth, gum inflammation, and increase the amount of cavity-causing bacteria. Long-term effects of vaping are still being researched.

It is important to spread the word about the dangers of vaping and provide individuals who are vaping with the information and resources needed to quit, which can be found below:

Feel free to contact Drs. Ali & Ali and the caring team at Wellesley Dental Group if you have any thoughts or concerns; they will be happy to answer your questions! Contact us today at 781-237-9071 or smile@wellesleydentalgroup.com to set up an appointment.

Your little ones and teens are welcome to visit our pediatric dentist, Dr. Derek, and Dr. Emad is happy to help with your TMJ and orthodontic needs. For wisdom teeth extractions or any other oral surgery needs, Dr. Stephens would love to help, and our gum-specialist Dr. Singh can help with your gum-related concerns.

References:

https://nationaltoday.com/respiratory-care-week/

https://www.lung.org/about-us/mission-impact-and-history/our-impact.html

http://www.deltadentalma.com/The-Brush-Up/Blog/What-Dentists-Need-to-Know-About-the-Teen-Vaping-E

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