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Months After Recovery, COVID Survivors Report an Oddity

Some are losing teeth, but oral experts aren't sure yet if the virus alone is causing this
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 27, 2020 9:30 AM CST

(Newser) – COVID-19 has already been linked to an "epidemic of cracked teeth." Now some believe the disease could be making people's teeth fall out altogether. The New York Times reports on this "bewildering" symptom among coronavirus survivors. One patient in an online survivors support group says one of her teeth fell out while eating ice cream; another says her molar fell out while flossing. "That was the last thing that I thought would happen," the latter survivor noted. Oddest of all among many of these cases is that teeth are falling out without any sign of blood or pain, with some doctors saying that suggests the virus attacks blood vessels in the gums and cuts off blood flow. HuffPost details other anecdotes of dental-related issues long after patients had recovered, including painful gums and chipped and discolored teeth.

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But dentists say there's not a lot of evidence to prove COVID-19 alone is what's responsible for such oral issues. Instead, they theorize, the virus may exacerbate already existing dental problems. Not all COVID-19 survivors who've suffered oral complications had preexisting dental issues, however—one 12-year-old with healthy teeth lost an adult tooth months after recovery. In addition to a possible blood-flow issue, doctors speculate the mouth may be a prime breeding ground for the virus due to a large presence there of ACE2 cell receptors, which the virus likes to latch onto. Health experts say dentists should at least be open to the possibility there's a link, as the virus has produced other odd symptoms, such as hair loss and "COVID toes." (Read more teeth stories.)

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