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Vector graphic of a mouth saying, "What your mouth says about COVID-19"

Experts have said that one of the best things we can do to prevent spreading or becoming infected with COVID-19 is using a mask to cover our nose and mouth. 

But while the mask covers our mouth, does that mean we’re fully protected?

Not necessarily.

Having good oral health will go a long way toward making sure we’re protected from COVID-19. 

When our oral health suffers, that’s when gingivitis, periodontal disease or other gum diseases can develop, causing a build-up of bacteria that can lead to infection, heart disease or worse.

And when the body’s defenses are down or depleted, that’s when COVID-19 can do some real damage. When someone is infected by COVID-19, the virus attaches to healthy cells, invades and then begins replicating the virus.

The COVID-19 virus especially attacks the respiratory tract and the lungs, which become inflamed and makes it harder to breathe. 

So if your body is already compromised and weakened by bacteria or an infection caused by gum disease, or if poor oral health has already led to heart disease, pneumonia or a stroke, then how much defense does your body have left against COVID-19?

If you do end up contracting COVID-19, the bacteria or infection that has already built up from poor oral health can combine with the virus to seriously damage your lungs and respiratory tract, leading to pneumonia or long-term health effects. 

There’s a lot that we still don’t know about how oral health can positively or negatively affect a COVID-19 infection. 

But we know enough to say that maintaining healthy teeth and gums adds a layer of protection in the event you become infected with COVID-19. 

So be safe: Wear a mask to reduce the spread of COVID-19, social distance and wash your hands. But also make sure that you’re brushing twice a day, flossing daily, visiting your dentist regularly and checking with your dental office if you have any concerns.