DURBAN – The World Health Organization (WHO) has warned patients to delay going to a dentist unless it is urgent until the risk factor from Coronavirus is better understood.
According to WHO dental officer, Benoit Varenne, the risk posed by procedures used by dentists is too poorly understood for people to start going to non-urgent appointments. Procedures including air and water sprays, ultrasonic cleaning and polishing could all send coronaviruses airborne out of a patient’s mouth.
“WHO guidance recommends in case of community transmission to give priority to urgent or emergency oral cases, to avoid or minimise procedures that may generate aerosol, prioritise a set of clinical interventions that are performed using an instrument and of course to delay routine non-essential oral health care,” said Varenne.
Last month the health body published general guidelines on how Covid-19 is transmitted. Although it acknowledged some reports of airborne transmission it did not confirm that the virus spreads through the air.
In a new study, “The Mouth COVID Connection (MCC)” researchers found a link between the bacteria produced by swollen, red, bleeding gums, and bone loss—symptoms of chronic periodontitis—and Covid-19, the study has been accepted for publication for the October 2020 issue of the Journal of the California Dental Association (JCDA).
“Gum disease has been linked to other breathing ailments, including pneumonia and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), so we weren’t surprised to find a link to respiratory problems with Covid-19. “What shocked us was the discovery of the protein’s devastating, life-threatening impact to patients once they’re hospitalized. One tiny, inflammatory protein robbed them of their ability to breathe,” said one of the authors of the study, Dr Shervin Molayem.
The full report of the study can be read at mouthcovidconnection.com.
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