Be smart with your mouth – The New Indian Express

Express press service

KOCHI: Against the backdrop of the Covid pandemic, International Gum Health Day has taken on greater significance. Numerous studies have shown that an inflammatory overload in the body can worsen the immune response and lead to a catastrophe in the cytokine storm. Uncontrolled gum disease is caused by the body’s reaction to bacteria that build up in the mouth and cause inflammation. The good news is that good oral hygiene and regular dental visits can help prevent them and limit the damage they can cause.

On the contrary, the bad news is that if left untreated, gum disease can lead to tooth loss and worsen serious conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, and cerebrovascular disease. Recent studies show an incidence of post-Covid fungal infection induced by treatment with steroids called mucormycosis, which affects the oral cavity and manifests as facial pain, sudden loosening of the teeth, dull ache in the upper jaw and upper teeth, unexplained pus discharge, swelling etc. Keeping the mouth and gums healthy is very important in reducing the microbial load in the mouth. This can be achieved by following these five tips.

Brush your teeth twice a day for three minutes with a soft-bristled toothbrush. Do not insert foreign objects such as toothpicks or dirty hands to remove food lodged between the teeth. Instead, use an interdental brush or dental floss. Always watch for warning signs such as increased redness, bleeding gums, loose teeth, and bad breath. Seek medical help immediately. Use a mouthwash like chlorhexidine with proven benefits to reduce the salivary microbial load. The author is a consulting periodontist based in Thiruvananthapuram

If a family member tests positive for Covid or is in quarantine, keep a separate oral care kit for them. This would include a soft-bristled toothbrush, creamy toothpaste, interdental brush or floss, and chlorhexidine mouthwash. If they wear dentures, keep the denture cleaning tablets in this kit as well. Once the test is negative, make sure the kit is disposed of correctly.

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