By Norman J Clement RPH., DDS,
Oral Health is an essential component of overall health. Yet the most likely tragedy perhaps will be how many well-meaning Dental Boards, (Louisiana, Pennsylvania) Public Health spoke persons, Governors and News Media outlets have failed to comprehend the importance of Oral Healthcare during the Corona Virus Pandemic. Dental Care is healthcare.
Now think about it. We are told to wash our hands, not touch our face and cover our mouths. According to the CDC SARS-CoV-2,:(1)
“the virus that causes COVID-19, is thought to be spread primarily through respiratory droplets. Airborne transmission from person-to-person over long distances is unlikely. However, the contribution of aerosols, or droplet nuclei, to close proximity transmission is currently uncertain. The virus has been shown to survive in aerosols for hours and on surfaces for days. There are also indications that patients may be able to spread the virus while pre-symptomatic or asymptomatic. Covid-19 can survive on surfaces such as counter tops for 5 days, your cloths for 5 hours plastic surface for 2 days”.
Yet what happens after you wash your hands and the virus still gets into your mouth? The CDC has not clearly addressed how long this virus survives in dental plague or even its relationship to poor oral hygiene. So now ask yourself if the virus can stick to a golf flag pole several hours, then how many days can it live on a dental restoration or a poorly cared for mouth? Rather than waiting for CDC to respond, I suggest:
- That COVID-19 sticks to dental plaque and on dental restorations(particularly those that are poorly surfaced), dentures, partial and implants.
- I believe many who have succumbed to this outbreak were likely to have maintained poor oral hygiene.
Therefore, along with washing your hands frequently, one should brush and floss at least 6 to 8 times daily, as well as rinsing your mouth with an over-the-counter mouthwash, swish and expectorate at least 5 to 7 times daily.
The significance of poor oral health and its effects on overall systemic disease should neither be ignored nor dismissed. A precise alarming study on “Oral Health in Relation to Pancreatic Cancer Risk in African American Women,” by Hanna Gerlovin, Dominique S. Michaud, Yvette C. Cozier, and Julie R. Palmer DOI: 10.1158/1055-9965.EPI-18-1053, (2) reported in the Journal of Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers and Prevention April 19, 2019, demonstrated a high prevalence of pancreatic cancer in Black women who had poor oral health and missing teeth.
Portrait Western Cape, Cape Town South Africa
So, again, along with washing your hands frequently, brushing(teeth, tongue roof mouth and flossing at least 6 to 8 times daily, you should rinse your mouth with an over-the-counter mouthwash, swish and expectorate at least 5 to 7 times daily.
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