COVID-19 has been seen to increase the risk for some people from mouth ulcers, canker sores and oral thrush. Research is ongoing into the effects of the virus on the oral cavity, but COVID-19 has also been linked to gingivitis, the early stages of gum disease. Dry mouth as well as a weakened immune system are symptoms of the virus which could be impacting on mouth sores.
Dry Mouth and Oral Thrush
People with COVID-19 often report dry mouth as one of the early symptoms, and this could be one of the reasons for an increased risk from oral thrush from the virus. A loss of taste, a burning sensation in the mouth and oral lesions are also reported by those with COVID-19.
Candida albicans is a natural yeast which resides in the mouth. Problems start when there is too much of this natural yeast building up in the oral cavity. This can lead to oral thrush and an infection with oral lesions, a burning sensation in the mouth and redness.
A dry mouth and a compromised immune system are contributing factors for oral thrush. As both of these factors are also symptoms of COVID-19 this is a likely reason why the virus increases the risk from oral thrush.
Increased Risk from Oral Lesions
Research suggests older COVID-19 patients and those with a more severe case of the virus are at an increased risk from oral lesions such as mouth ulcers. This additional risk from oral lesions could be influenced by a weakened immune system caused by COVID-19, as well as the stress and lack of oral hygiene while suffering with the virus, and inflammation.
Loss of Taste and Mouth Sores
A loss of taste and smell are well known symptoms of COVID-19, and most people with the virus who reported mouth sores also reported these symptoms. However, the mouth sores tended to be quite mild, although ulcers have been more severe for older COVID-19 patients and for those who were immunocompromised.
More research is needed to understand why those with more acute cases of COVID-19 seem to be at increased risk of mouth sores. One good part of all this is that normally any oral lesions clear within a few days. However, those with a dry mouth or oral thrush should visit their dentist to ensure the correct treatment is applied to help prevent further oral health problems from arising.
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