Can COVID-19 Damage Teeth?
COVID-19 is known to affect the lungs, and interestingly, some people have reported that the virus has damaged their teeth or even caused them to fall out! Is this possible? We discuss the symptoms and effects of COVID-19 on the teeth and body below.
What Are COVID-19’s Symptoms?
The World Health Organization (WHO) has confirmed many different symptoms of COVID-19 including, but not limited to:
- Difficulty breathing
- Shortness of breath
- Sore throat
- Loss of taste or smell
- Chills or dizziness
In terms of long-term effects, WHO is still researching. The virus is still new, and researchers are trying to discover all of the symptoms and long-term effects. Some of the long-term effects that have been confirmed include:
- Rash or hair loss
- Muscle pain or headache
- Memory, concentration, or sleep problems
WHO has not confirmed any effects that are related to teeth damage, loss or discolouration.
Back in November 2020, a mother said on Twitter that her 12-year-old son lost an adult tooth and his other teeth were loose. She claimed that this was caused by him having COVID-19 nine months prior. She’s not the only one. Many other COVID-19 survivors shared that their teeth cracked, became discoloured, or fell-out.
The virus is known to affect the body’s blood vessels and could lead to blot clots. William Li, a vascular biologist and medical director of the Angiogenesis Foundation told Huffington Post that patients who have noticed dental issues could have issues with blood flow.
He stated that the jaw is filled with blood vessels which the virus could attack. Li says that over time it could be possible that the vascular damage could slow the blood flow in the gums which can cause teeth to deteriorate and fall out. Further, some research suggests that the mouth may be a good environment for the virus to replicate. Eric Cioe-Pena, director of the global health at Northwell Health in New York told HuffPost that “there is an intimate connection between the teeth and the rest of the body.” Interestingly, COVID-19 is not the only virus that could have an effect on the teeth. HIV is known to cause dental decay, oral pain and bone loss around the tooth.
Despite the claims from various COVID-19 long-haulers, some dentists are wary. Dr. David Okano, a periodontist at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City told The New York Times that teeth falling out without any blood is unusual. He did, however, say that COVID-19 could worsen existing dental problems, especially for those who have infections. There isn’t enough research yet to confidently confirm whether COVID-19 can damage the teeth.
The best way to calm any fears about tooth damage is to visit your dentist. Your dentist can keep your dental hygiene in check which can prevent infections that could be made more complicated because of the virus. Please stay home if you suspect if you have COVID-19 or are experiencing any symptoms.