Tooth loss may be long-term COVID-19 side effect

Some COVID-19 survivors have reported losing teeth with neither blood nor pain, according to a Nov. 26 New York Times report.

Farah Khemili, a New York woman who survived COVID-19 in the spring, told NYT she recently lost a tooth without experiencing pain or seeing blood. She also told NYT several other COVID-19 survivors have had a similar experience with losing a tooth, according to the anecdotes shared in the Facebook group for COVID-19 survivors she belongs to.

The founder of the Facebook group, Diana Berrent, posted that her 12-year-old son, who had COVID-19 earlier in the year, lost one of his adult teeth even though they were healthy and he had no underlying gum disease.

William Li, MD, president and medical director of the Angiogenesis Foundation, a nonprofit that researches blood vessels, told NYT that losing a tooth without blood is uncommon and could indicate an issue within the gums' blood vessels. He said the novel coronavirus could potentially damage the blood vessels that keep teeth alive in COVID-19 survivors, as the virus attaches itself to the ACE2 protein, which is present throughout the body.

It is also possible COVID-19 could exacerbate oral health problems, David Okano, DDS, a periodontist at the Salt Lake City-based University of Utah, told the newspaper.

Some dentists also believe an immune response elicited by COVID-19, known as a cytokine storm, may occur in the mouth, according to NYT.

"Gum disease is very sensitive to hyper-inflammatory reactions, and COVID-19 long haulers certainly fall into that category," Michael Scherer, DMD, a California prosthodontist told the newspaper.

More articles on dental:
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Virginia dentist gets prison, must pay $597K+ for tax fraud scheme
Dentists warn against 'shark teeth' TikTok trend, young people filing teeth to stumps

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