QUEEN CREEK, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) - Like a lot of other preventative appointments, the dentist is getting skipped because of COVID-19.
Dentist Alex Matheson at Matheson Dentistry and Implant Center estimates about 20% of patients are canceling or rescheduling their appointments. He said that could hurt you in the long run if you get COVID-19.
"I want to maintain my appointments because I want to keep my health," said patient, Tom Cassutt. "I'm a big believer in if you got good health, it will help you fight any disease including COVID."
Matheson said he has the right idea. Cleanings get rid of bacteria in your mouth.
"One of the things research has shown is when we have large amounts of bacteria in our mouth with gum disease, that can actually suppress our body's immune system," said Matheson.
That might make it harder for you to fight the flu and COVID-19. His office is also trying to prevent the spread of germs by reducing aerosols.
"When you've been to the dentist, you know the little thing that sucks the spit out of your mouth?" said Matheson. "We actually have one of those that actually helps to suck the air out the room immediately around the patient in the chair."
He said they got the new equipment months ago when this pandemic first started. He says he wants to order more, but right now, they're tougher to find because so many dentists want them. The cleanings, screenings and new equipment make Cassutt feel safe going to the dentist.
"I'm healthier," said Cassutt. "My immune system is stronger, and I have a better chance of fighting it off."