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 Table of Contents  
SHORT COMMUNICATION
Year : 2021  |  Volume : 8  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 118-119

Coronavirus disease 2019 and oral health: Changing paradigms and the public health perspective


1 Member of the Medical Education Unit and Institute Research Council, Department of Community Medicine, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, Sri Balaji Vidyapeeth – Deemed to be University, Ammapettai, Nellikuppam, Chengalpet District, Tamil Nadu, India
2 Department of Community Medicine, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, Sri Balaji Vidyapeeth – Deemed to be University, Ammapettai, Nellikuppam, Chengalpet District, Tamil Nadu, India

Date of Submission25-Aug-2020
Date of Decision27-Sep-2020
Date of Acceptance09-Dec-2020
Date of Web Publication19-Jul-2021

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Saurabh RamBihariLal Shrivastava
Department of Community Medicine, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, Sri Balaji Vidyapeeth (SBV) – Deemed to be University, Tiruporur - Guduvancherry Main Road, Ammapettai, Nellikuppam, Chengalpet District - 603 108, Tamil Nadu
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/sjos.SJOralSci_86_20

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  Abstract 


The coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has impacted all the areas of health care, including interruptions in the delivery of essential health care services in varied settings. In the oral settings, the virus transmission can happen either through direct transmission via inhalation of droplets produced during coughing or sneezing, or direct transmission via mucous membranes, or indirect transmission through contaminated surfaces or fomites. It is quite obvious that most of the aerosol-generating procedures are being done in the oral settings and thus the potential risk of transmission of infection cannot be ruled out. There is a specific need to strengthen infection prevention and control measures in the oral health care settings. In conclusion, the oral health care services need to be rigourosly strengthened in the current pandemic as there is a potential risk for the spread of the COVID-19 infection. The need of the hour is to continue the delivery of emergency services and at the same time delay the routine procedures to ensure safety of the patients as well as the health care personnel.

Keywords: COVID-19 pandemic, Oral, World Health Organization


How to cite this article:
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS. Coronavirus disease 2019 and oral health: Changing paradigms and the public health perspective. Saudi J Oral Sci 2021;8:118-9

How to cite this URL:
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS. Coronavirus disease 2019 and oral health: Changing paradigms and the public health perspective. Saudi J Oral Sci [serial online] 2021 [cited 2021 Dec 1];8:118-9. Available from: https://www.saudijos.org/text.asp?2021/8/2/118/321885




  Introduction Top


The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has impacted all the areas of health care, including interruptions in the delivery of essential health-care services in varied settings. As on August 23, 2020, a cumulative total of more than 23 million cases and 800,000 deaths have been reported across the affected nations and territories.[1] In general, the predominant modes of the transmission of the causative virus from the infected person to another person is through direct, indirect, or close contact. In oral settings, the virus transmission can happen either through direct transmission via inhalation of droplets produced during coughing or sneezing, or direct transmission via mucous membranes, or indirect transmission through contaminated surfaces or fomites.[2]


  COVID-19 in Oral settings Top


It is quite obvious that most of the aerosol-generating procedures are being done in oral settings and thus the potential risk of transmission of infection cannot be ruled out.[3] Moreover, an oral health-care team has to work in close proximity to the face of patients for long times and thus they are at a definite risk for getting exposed to the virus.[3],[4] Acknowledging this fact, amid this ongoing pandemic, strengthening of the delivery of the oral health-care services, preventing the occurrence of oral problems, and increasing awareness about the need to improve self-care have been recognized as the major public health priorities.[2],[3],[4]


  Proposed recommendations Top


The World Health Organization advocates that till the time we accomplish significant decline in the incidence of COVID-19 at different levels, all the nonessential oral health care-related issues (viz., routine checkups, dental cleanings, and esthetic procedures) have to be delayed.[5] However, at the same time, emergency oral issues (such as acute oral infections, swelling, and intractable pain) have to be attended timely to avoid referral of patients to higher centers. It is advocated to screen patients before appointment through phones or virtual media and in the absence of the same, triage should be practiced, upon arrival to the health facility.[2],[5] In case a COVID-19-confirmed patient requires emergency oral health care, he/she should be referred to specialized oral care centers to avoid exposure to other people.[5]


  Infection prevention and control measures Top


Moreover, there is a specific need to strengthen infection prevention and control measures in the oral health-care settings.[6] These measures include training of the staff on triage, maintaining strict adherence to the use of medical masks, practicing hand hygiene, implementing measures to create awareness about the disease, ensuring cleaning and disinfection between attending patients, and admitting only those people who are in urgent need.[4],[5],[6] In addition, steps have to be taken to ensure adequate ventilation by ensuring at least 6–12 air exchanges each hour or minimizing the use of devices which work through re-circulation of air.[5] Further, as already mentioned, the protection of health personnel should be given utmost priority and all standard infection prevention and control measures should be strictly adhered.[3],[4],[5]


  Conclusion Top


The oral health-care services need to be extensively strengthened in the current times as there is a potential risk for the spread of the COVID-19 infection. The need of the hour is to continue the delivery of emergency services and at the same time delay routine procedures to ensure safety of the patients as well as the health-care personnel.

Financial support and sponsorship

Nil.

Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.



 
  References Top

1.
World Health Organization. Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)– Weekly Epidemiological Report; 2020. Available from: https://www.who.int/docs/default-source/coronaviruse/situation-reports/20200824-weekly-epi-update.pdf?sfvrsn=806986d1_4. [Last accessed on 2020 Aug 25].  Back to cited text no. 1
    
2.
Peng X, Xu X, Li Y, Cheng L, Zhou X, Ren B. Transmission routes of 2019-nCoV and controls in dental practice. Int J Oral Sci 2020;12:9.  Back to cited text no. 2
    
3.
Guo J, Xie H, Liang M, Wu H. COVID-19: a novel coronavirus and a novel challenge for oral healthcare. Clin Oral Investig 2020;24:2137-8.  Back to cited text no. 3
    
4.
Naqvi K, Mubeen SM, Ali Shah SM. Challenges in providing oral and dental health services in COVID-19 pandemic. J Pak Med Assoc 2020;70:S113-7.  Back to cited text no. 4
    
5.
World Health Organization. 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV): Strategic preparedness and response plan. Geneva: WHO press; 2020. p. 1-20.  Back to cited text no. 5
    
6.
World Health Organization. Considerations for the Provision of Essential Oral Health Services in the Context of COVID-19-Interim Guidance. Geneva: WHO press; 2020. p. 1-3.  Back to cited text no. 6
    




 

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Abstract
Introduction
COVID-19 in Oral...
Proposed recomme...
Infection preven...
Conclusion
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