The more we are learning about Covid-19, the more we understand how oral hygiene has been affecting the severity of the virus, as well as the testing. Evidence has indicated that oral bacteria has significantly played a role in the infection of Covid-19, and the failure to maintain proper oral care may even result in clinically recovered patients continually testing positive for the novel coronavirus. Studies which have been conducted and published with Special Care in Dentistry suggest that appropriate oral care is not only the first line of defense against the virus, but experts are even proposing that brushing your teeth and gargling to remove excess viral nucleic acid will improve the accuracy or PCR testing, allowing us to determine the distinction between the viral particles causing Covid-19.
Oral hygiene which is not properly balanced will also prolong the duration of the virus’ stay and individuals could even test positive for longer periods of time, despite being A-symptomatic and feeling as though the condition has run its’ course.
The data had remitted that individuals who did not brush or rinse their teeth may have allowed noninfectious viral nucleic acid to build up, culminating in lengthened viral shedding. On average, those who did not keep their oral cavities clean and intact sustained the shedding of the virus for an additional two weeks. This eventualized into a more positive real-time reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests, conveyed the researchers.
Testimony has also expressed concern since oral bacteria is often associated with the four major comorbidities that seem to be linked with increasing the risk of complication and death from Covid-19. Diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular disease, and hypertension are the main ailments adding to the complexity of treating the virus and are also directly related to altered oral biofilms and periodontal disease.
A potential attachment between poor oral health or a lack of attention to oral care and the novel coronavirus isn’t surprising as it has been medically and scientifically proven that the foundation of a person’s overall health stems from good oral health. For this reason, many dentists are using pre-procedural rinses to reduce the viral load in the patient’s mouth prior to any check-up or treatment.
CASE STUDY HIGHLIGHTS
- Six of the eight patients, all of whom had mild to moderate COVID-19, had viral shedding
periods of 30 days or less.
- Two patients, one with schizophrenia and the other with dissociative disorder and mental
disability, experienced significantly longer shedding periods of 44 days or more.
- The 31-year-old woman with schizophrenia was considered clinically recovered when her
symptoms stopped after 12 days, yet she continued to test positive for the virus. She could not leave the medical center until she tested negative for two consecutive days.
- Medical professionals realized she didn’t voluntarily brush her teeth and only did it for the first time on her 18th day at the hospital.
- As she continued to accumulate positive PCR tests, doctors speculated that the lack of oral care may have caused the persistent positive tests.
- Her viral shedding period reached 46 days, and staff began encouraging her to brush her teeth and gargle.
- Two days after the start of this instruction, the patient’s PCR test result was negative for the first
- After nine days of intensive tooth brushing with only water, the patient had two consecutive negative PCR test results and was discharged.
CLEAN YOUR TEETH, GUMS, & TONGUE
In conclusion, this particular study backs up the claim that removing noninfectious viral nucleic acid in oral cavities may in fact lead to consistency in producing negative PCR outcomes- increasing the likelihood that individuals can avoid unnecessarily long quarantines or hospital stays.
Individuals who are at high-risk of contracting Covid-19, for instance the elderly or those with compromised immune systems, should be extra diligent in maintaining their best oral hygiene.