Your Woodlands dentist found a study published last month in the Journal of Dental Research. It featured findings courtesy of a group of Ohio State University researchers who were determined to figure out if saliva droplets are the main source of spreading SARS-CoV-2. They focused on dentistry because the procedures and treatments dentists use every day are known to produce an abundance of something we call aerosols. Researchers ultimately wanted to see if these aerosols or flying saliva during a cleaning or other procedure could mean everyone is at greater risk for spreading the virus.
How’d They Do It?
The team of researchers started by analyzing the genetic makeup of certain organisms they found in saliva samples. During this process, they found that the water solution from our irrigation tools, not your saliva, is actually one of the main sources of bacteria or viruses present in what flies out of your mouth. The research shows that “even when low levels of the SARS-CoV-2 virus were detected in the saliva of asymptomatic patients, the aerosols generated during their procedures showed no signs of the coronavirus.” From a microbial standpoint, the contents of the spray mirrored what was in the office environment.
What Are the Results Saying?
Purnima Kumar, is a professor of periodontology at Ohio State and the lead author of the study. She says that,” getting your teeth cleaned does not increase your risk for COVID-19 infection any more than drinking a glass of water from the dentist’s office does. These findings should help us open up our practices, make ourselves feel safe about our environment and, for patients, get their oral and dental problems treated – there is so much evidence emerging that if you have poor oral health, you are more susceptible to COVID.”
Dentists Have Always Been at the Forefront
Kumar also says that it’s important to note that dentistry has been at the forefront of infection control and patient safety across all of healthcare in Texas and across the country. And it’s no different at your Woodlands dentists. During the pandemic, all offices even instituted new best practices and protocols to ensure everyone could feel comfortable and safe during an appointment. “Dental surgeons and hygienists are always at the forefront of the war against bacteria in the mouth, and they of course did not feel safe because they are front-line workers surrounded by aerosols,” she adds. “Hopefully this will set their mind at rest because when you do procedures, it is the water from the ultrasonic equipment that’s causing bacteria to be there. It’s not saliva. So the risk of spreading infection is not high,” she said. “However, we should not lose sight of the fact that this virus spreads through aerosol, and speaking, coughing or sneezing in the dental office can still carry a high risk of disease transmission.”
Are You Due for An Appointment?
If you’re due for a checkup, cleaning, or are interested in learning more about what your Woodlands dentist can do for you, please don’t hesitate to to contact any of these outstanding Woodlands dental offices:
Dr. Robert Dernick (General, Cosmetic, Implant Dentistry, and TMJ)
Dr. Mike Freeman (General, Cosmetic, Implant, Sleep Apnea, and TMJ)
Dr. Alisa Reed (General, Cosmetic, Implant, Laser, Sleep Apnea, and TMJ)
Dr. Wade Williams (Orthodontics)
Dr. Nikita Vakil (General, Cosmetic, Implant Dentistry)
Dr. Leslie Blackburn (Pediatric Dentistry)