Week in Review: Vaccine reactions | Bad blood and periodontitis | States ranked by dental health

Dear DrBicuspid Member,

Our top story of the week names orofacial reactions observed in patients given the two COVID-19 vaccines. Acute peripheral facial paralysis and facial swelling were among the adverse drug reactions mentioned in a February 1 report.

Anaphylaxis-related swelling of the lips, face, and tongue was also reported in people who had received the vaccines. Fortunately, these and other side effects were rare, occurring in up to 1 out of 1,000 people.

Bad blood and periodontitis

A new Blood Transfusion study provides even more evidence that bacteria in the mouth doesn't always stay there. The prevalence of bacteria was 6.4 times higher in blood donated by people with periodontitis than in those who didn't experience severe gum inflammation.

Researchers behind the study worried that periodontitis increased the risk of bacterial contamination of blood products. What's worse? Bacteria originating from the oral cavity may evade tests to detect germs in donated blood that can cause infections.

Dental health needs

Dental care topped the list of children's unmet healthcare needs during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to new survey data from University of Pittsburgh researchers.

A total of 16% of families said dental care was the greatest unmet medical need for their children. In fact, three times as many households cited unmet dental needs compared to unmet medical needs.

Record job losses could be contributing to the need for dental care among children, the survey also found. About 40% of families reported the loss of a job or income -- an event tied to a 77% greater risk of a child experiencing an unmet dental care need.

While the pandemic has taken a toll on oral health in every state, some states are faring better than others, according to WalletHub's annual analysis of the best and worst states for dental health.

Wisconsin once again topped the list of best U.S. states for dental health. The Badger State also held that title in the 2020 and 2019 rankings.

At the other end of the list, Mississippi ranked last in WalletHub's 2021 analysis. You can see more dental health statistics and an infographic in the article.

We won't be sending out our typical newsletter on Monday in celebration of Presidents Day. Be on the lookout for new and exciting content starting Tuesday.

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