Even as vaccination rates continue to rise in the U.S., many patients may still feel uneasy about returning to see a family dentist in Edmond, Oklahoma for routine cleanings and exams. Nationally, the American Dental Association reports that only 80 percent of patients have returned to the dental chair following last year’s shutdown of most dental offices. According to surveys, a concern over contracting COVID has kept many patients from receiving the vital dental care they need to protect the health of their teeth and gums.
While getting vaccinated against the coronavirus dramatically lowers an individual’s risk of contracting the virus, notable breakthrough cases – when a vaccinated patient still contracts a virus – in sports and entertainment have continued to stoke concerns over engaging in activities that increase the risk of contracting COVID. To many patients, visiting a family dentist in Edmond, Oklahoma remains too risky.
The results of a new study may hopefully help to alleviate patient concern. According to researchers from Ohio State University, dental treatment won’t put a patient at risk of contracting COVID.
“Getting your teeth cleaned does not increase your risk for COVID-19 infection any more than drinking a glass of water from your dentist’s office does,” wrote the research team in their findings.
Public health professionals hope the result of this study will help patients overcome any concerns they may have about visiting the dentist now that the pandemic is nearly at an end.
Dental Care Doesn’t Present a COVID Risk
Since COVID-19 primarily spreads through the inhalation of airborne droplets, concerns have persisted throughout the pandemic that saliva released during a dental procedure could help to spread the virus.
To assess the validity of that concern, researchers analyzed the genetic makeup of organisms found in air samples collected during a variety of dental procedures.
Researchers discovered that the water solution from dental tools – not saliva – was the primary source of any bacteria or viruses in the splatter or spurts from the mouths of patients. Even when low levels of the virus were discovered in the saliva samples, the aerosols created during dental work showed no signs of the coronavirus, reported the research team.
This study shows conclusively that COVID simply doesn’t spread during dental care. The aerosolized droplets produced during routine dental work don’t carry the virus and are incapable of infecting a patient or dental care worker.
When coupled with the increased safety precautions taken at our office, it becomes clear that patients have no reason to avoid visiting a family dentist in Edmond, Oklahoma.
In fact, research shows that avoiding dental care is actually the biggest threat to a patient’s health.
Avoiding Dental Care a Serious Risk
As we’ve covered before on our Santa Fe Dental blog, the state of a patient’s oral health greatly influences their overall health. Decades worth of research have found that patients with tooth decay, gum disease, or who are missing teeth have a significantly higher risk for developing a range of chronic health conditions that include heart disease, diabetes, dementia, stroke, and even cancer.
Additionally, more recent research has found that the last year has placed a great deal of strain on many patient’s oral health. The added stress generated by the pandemic has caused dentists across the country to see far more patients dealing with cracked or broken teeth – conditions commonly caused by teeth grinding and clenching.
Even if your teeth haven’t suffered from pandemic related stress, skipping out on dental care can seriously impact the health of your teeth and gums. Studies have shown that many people are simply not giving their teeth the attention they need over the last year. Working from home, combined with pandemic-related depression, has led many people to stop brushing and flossing like before.
A dip in your daily oral hygiene routine allows plaque to build up on the surface of your teeth and along the gum line. During dental cleanings, our hygienists work to remove plaque before it can contribute to gum disease and tooth decay. Skipping out on your yearly cleanings means allowing plaque to remain and your oral health to suffer as a result.
Hopefully the results of this latest study will provide nervous patients peace of mind when it comes to returning to the dentist. We hope you know that your health and safety will always remain our top priority, and we look forward to seeing all of your faces real soon at Santa Fe Dental.