While the virus is much less potent than it used to be, we can still see the effects of COVID-19 in our mouths and teeth.
Dry Mouth and Gum Disease
One of the long-COVID symptoms is a dry mouth. You’ve probably heard that saliva is the first step in digesting your food, and that’s correct, but it has more than one function. Saliva also protects your teeth and gums by washing away food particles. It contains antimicrobial agents that help combat harmful bacteria. You’re more susceptible to gum disease, tooth decay, and other mouth sores without saliva.
When your mouth is dry, the first thing you’ll notice is that it’s extremely uncomfortable. And, regardless of how much water you drink, your mouth still feels dry. Certain medications can cause a dry mouth, but it’s also a symptom of long-COVID—persisting COVID-19 symptoms even after you’ve recovered, sometimes lasting for years.
After some time, you’ll notice that your gums are red and swollen, they bleed when you brush your teeth, your teeth are sensitive, you have bad breath, and you might even have sores such as canker sores in your mouth. These are all signs of developing gum disease known as gingivitis. If left untreated, the bacteria caught under your gumline will fester and begin to decay your teeth and travel to the rest of your body. This is all because of the lack of saliva being around to clean your teeth and fight bacterial infections.
If you experience a dry mouth and symptoms of gum disease, we can help. Make an appointment with your local Manhattan dentist Dr. Karthilde Appolon. Call (212) 557-8668 or make an appointment online.
Stress, Jaw Pain, and TMJ Disorder
One common symptom of COVID-19 is joint pain. Usually, this primary joint pain from COVID is in your back and shoulders. Still, many people experience another kind of joint pain. Temporomandibular joint pain. Your temporomandibular joint is your jaw joint. It sits just below your ears on either side of your head and connects your lower jaw to your skull. We call this Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMD), but many people call the disorder TMJ.
One of the leading causes of TMJ pain is stress which is abundant when dealing with a worldwide pandemic. Stress causes your to clench your jaw and grind your teeth (bruxism) without knowing it during the day and while you sleep. The constant strain on these muscles causes joint inflammation, muscle inflammation, and nerve pain, eventually pushing your jaw out of alignment.
You might think your jaw pain is from long-COVID, but it’s more likely joint strain due to stress from the pandemic and your new bruxism habit.
Your TMJ pain can manifest itself in other ways, such as jaw pain near the ear, cheekbone pain, right or left side of your face swollen by your jaw, and even pain in your neck, shoulders, and back. If you experience these symptoms and have been chaulking it up to long-COVID, get checked and treated for TMJ. Call your local New York Manhattan dentist at (212) 557-8668 or make an appointment online.
Dizziness and TMJ Disorder
Dizziness is another symptom of long-COVID that overlaps with TMJ disorder. When you have TMJ, you experience symptoms that seemingly, have nothing to do with your jaw. The reality is that your jaw joint is a busy place in your body. It opens and closes multiple times a day, has a powerful muscle and nerves running through it and is directly tied to your inner ear with ligaments.
Your inner ear is responsible for your balance. There are canals called semicircular canals. They are lined with tiny hairlike muscles and filled partway with fluid. When you move, these hairs sense the movement of the liquid and send messages to your brain, which helps you discern where you are in space and keep your balance. If you have TMJ, the ligaments that connect your jaw muscles to your ear become inflamed and stained. They push and pull your semicircular canals out of place, which confuses your body, and you feel dizzy.
Do your symptoms sound like they could be TMJ disorder? Your Manhattan dentist can help. Call (212) 557-8668 or make an appointment online.
Tingling in Fingers and TMJ Disorder
Did you know that TMJ disorder can cause tingling in your fingers? So can long-COVID. If your tingling is from TMJ, your temporomandibular joint is pinching the nerve that runs through it. This nerve is called the trigeminal nerve, and it’s responsible for all the feeling in your head and helps jaw movement. So why does that affect your fingers? Because when this nerve is pinched for a prolonged period of time, it affects the nerves that connect to it, and the sensation can travel down your arms and to your fingers.
If you have tingling in your fingers from TMJ disorder, you’ll likely have headaches or migraines and jaw pain. If you are concerned that symptoms you thought were long-COVID is TMJ disorder, make an appointment with your local New York City dentist. After all, your symptoms could have started due to COVID, but they don’t need to persist. Call (212) 557-8668 or make an appointment online.
Have You Been Back To See Your Manhattan Dentist Since COVID?
One of the most significant ways COVID-19 has affected our teeth is that many have stopped going to the dentist. While many offices were closed for a time, we are open again, and it’s essential to get back into the habit of your twice-annual cleaning and dental exam.
We clear tartar from your teeth during your cleaning, which you can’t do with a toothbrush at home. It’s important to get this tartar buildup off before it traps bacteria and damages your teeth and gums. Your dental exams are essential, too. We examine your mouth, jaw, teeth, and gums for diseases, disorders, and oral cancer during your exam.
Head back to your local Manhattan dentist for your cleaning and exam. We’ll talk about any symptoms you’re experiencing and help you get back to living a happy, healthy life. Call (212) 557-8668 or make an appointment online.