Prioritize Healthy Gums

To decrease your risk for serious problems associated with COVID-19, Dr. Nemeth advises making sure your gums are healthy.

According to the CDC, those with diabetes, obesity, hypertension, COPD, kidney disease, cardiovascular disease, coronary heart disease, lung disease and other long-term health problems are at greater risk of death from COVID-19; however, local periodontist Dr. Joseph R. Nemeth said poor oral health is actually a risk factor for all of these systemic diseases.

“In other words, if your mouth isn’t healthy, particularly if you have gum disease, you are at a significantly higher risk for all of those systemic diseases,” said Nemeth, a world-renowned leader in the field of periodontology. “So, to reduce your risk for serious problems from the coronavirus, make sure your gums are healthy.”

Tender gums, bleeding gums, teeth that are shifting or moving and certain types of bad breath could be signs of periodontitis, another name for gum disease. Dubbed by Dr. Nemeth as “A Silent Killer” since most people don’t realize they have it or understand how dangerous it is, periodontal disease affects almost half of adults over the age of 30, and it increases with age with over 70% of those 65 and older affected, according to a recent CDC report.

Periodontal disease is an infection that is not just limited to your mouth. Certain types of bacteria and parasites are associated with it, and when these organisms get into the bloodstream, an inflammatory response in the body occurs. Inflammation is at the root of countless systemic diseases. 

Most of Nemeth’s patients are referred to him by their dentists who detect the gum disease because the patients do not find it themselves. It usually doesn't cause any pain, but by the time people become aware of it, it’s so far advanced that often teeth have to be removed.

Dr. Nemeth and his team work to eliminate gum disease in their office at 29829 Telegraph in Southfield using a laser treatment that is both painless and effective called LANAP. LANAP is the FDA-cleared, laser alternative to gum surgery. Causing very little to no pain or discomfort, it destroys the bacteria that cause gum disease and helps regenerate lost bone due to gum disease.

“I’ve had many patients whose blood sugar was very high or out of control, and after getting their gums treated, their blood sugar goes down and their Diabetes becomes more controllable, some are even able to reduce their intake of medication as a result,” Nemeth explained. “What’s perhaps even more frightening are the recent studies that link gum disease as a possible causative factor in Alzheimer's Disease. A byproduct of the same bacteria that cause gum disease have been found in the brains of Alzheimer's patients at an increased rate.”

Dr. Nemeth was the first periodontist in the US to use dental lasers, and his office actually has five different lasers for various applications. For more information or to book your first visit, go to drnemeth.com or call (248)-357-3100. 

“If you can get your gums healthy, you are going to be healthier,” Nemeth said. “If you’re healthier, there’s going to be less of a risk from serious complications if you contract the coronavirus.” 

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