Some COVID-19 survivors with previous dental problems say the virus has had an impact on their oral health, reports The New York Times.
People are sharing stories of how their teeth or gums weakened, fell out, became discolored or broke.
Dentists say it’s too early to establish a well-linked connection between the coronavirus and oral health, though.
”We are now beginning to examine some of the bewildering and sometimes disabling symptoms that patients are suffering months after they’ve recovered from Covid,” Dr. William W. Li, president and medical director of the Angiogenesis Foundation, a nonprofit that studies the health and disease of blood vessels, told the Times.
Li said teeth falling out without any blood is unusual and could mean there’s an issue with blood vessels in the gums. SARS-CoV-2 directly infects endothelial cells via ACE2, a protein on the surface of many cell types. Endothelial cells form the inner lining of blood vessels. Blood vessels keep the teeth alive.
Coronavirus can also cause the immune system to overcompensate, leading to a ”cytokine storm,” says Dr. Michael Scherer, a prosthodontist in California.
”Gum disease is very sensitive to hyper-inflammatory reactions, and Covid long haulers certainly fall into that category,” Scherer told the Times.
Nearly 13 million Americans have been infected with COVID-19 and about 263,000 have died.
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