Do not ignore your oral health, especially with COVID-19 in mind!
2020 has been a very interesting year to say the least. As our office opens up to see patients, those who work in healthcare- doctors, nurses, hospital staff, shared with me horror stories of their patients going in with much more serious, advanced diseases because of fear of catching COVID-19 in a doctor’s office or hospital setting. I was even told that some with active heart attack refused to go to the hospital for the same reason, when heart attack death rate is much higher, being responsible for 1 in every 4 deaths in the United States, than COVID-19 related death. It is unfortunate that, across the board, most healthcare professionals, including dentists, witness the negative impact of delaying elective care. Many non-urgent problems became urgent, minor diseases became significant.
There is no doubt that the Shelter-in-Place (SIP) order was necessary to flatten the curve and reduce infection rate of coronavirus. Thanks to the quick decision of the leadership from the mayor’s office, San Francisco has been doing remarkably well. As most experts predict, this virus will not go away suddenly, we need to learn to adopt safety measures to protect everyone. Social distancing, hand washing and wearing a mask (see this article from UCSF) are the 3 key things we can easily do to fight infection. It is likely we need to live with COVID-19 in mind for a while.
Part of the game plan to fight this virus is also to improve your health and focus on preventive care to boost immune system. Scientific data demonstrate that our oral health is of vital importance to our general health. Those with active dental infection often have compromised immune system. Therefore, as long as your dentist is taking necessary precaution to ensure optimal infection control, you should not fear going to the dentist and starting your routine preventive care or dental treatments. This, along with good diet, relaxation, exercise and adequate sleep, are the best to reduce risks of infection and protect yourself and your loved ones.