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Dentist says good oral health could help save lives of COVID-19 patients on ventilators

Coronavirus

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, dentists studying models and patient outcomes are starting to notice a trend when it comes to a patient’s oral health before they were put onto a ventilator.

Sean Boynes, DMD with DentaQuest says that our mouths have a constant of good and bad bacteria battling it out and that if a person gets COVID-19 and has to be put onto a ventilator the bad bacteria can win out.

“As that tube goes back into your throat it can get some of that bad bacteria and actually force it down into the lungs,” says Dr. Boynes.

He says that can then cause irritation or inflammation.

“What ends up happening is the bacteria causes infection, usually leads to pneumonia, it can lead to death,” he adds.

Dr. Boynes says that can lead to your body not just battling COVID-19 but other serious issues which is why he believes good dental health in the first place is key.

“Our research has shown that you have a less likelihood of getting ventilator-related pneumonia if you’ve had a dental visit in the last three years.”

Boynes says regular dental visits are not the only key things to having a clean mouth.

“Having a good diet, not snacking frequently. Really thinking about the foods that we digest becomes really important.”

He says studying extensive data has revealed people of color impacted more, due to less access to dental care, something he’d like to see lawmakers address.

Boynes recommends that people at a higher risk for disease may need to see the dentist more than just twice a year for preventive appointments and he points out that the offices are safe.

He says a report from the American Dental Association showed COVID-19 rates among dentists at less than one percent.

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