Gum Disease and COVID-19: Are they Connected?
The latest research suggests a connection between periodontal (gum) disease and respiratory complications in COVID-19 patients.
A recent study published by the California Dental Association suggests a link between the bacteria that causes chronic periodontal disease and SARS-CoV-2. Researchers found that patients with high levels of IL-6 (interleukin), a harmful protein that becomes elevated in the case of periodontitis, are at greater risk of life-threatening respiratory illness and complications. The results determined that hospitalized patients who had elevated IL-6 levels were 22 times more likely to suffer from acute respiratory issues and placed on a ventilator than patients with levels below 80pg/ml.
Lead by a Los Angeles based dental surgeon, Dr. Shervin Molayem, concluded that harmful bacteria and proteins from the gums that have spread to the lungs could create a lethal crisis, especially when paired with the COVID-19 virus.
Gum Disease and Respiratory Health
Periodontal disease is a chronic inflammatory infection that affects the gum tissue and teeth. Many studies have associated gum disease with other breathing ailments and respiratory infections, including pneumonia and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). It was initially believed that bacteria in the mouth only affected just that – the mouth. Well, a lot has changed. Additional studies have proven that harmful bacteria in the mouth can spread and accumulate in other parts of the body, causing infection.
Tips to Prevent Gum Disease
If you’re experiencing mouth discomfort, gum sensitivity or inflammation, schedule an appointment with the dentist immediately to find the source of the problem. We’ve also listed a few tips below to help you avoid the onset of gum disease.
- Visit the dentist regularly
- Brush your teeth at least twice a day and after meals to remove debris and plaque
- Floss at least once a day
- Use mouthwash
- Don’t smoke
Healthy Mouth, Healthy Body.
At Braydich Dental, we want to give our patients the best opportunity to stay healthy. And it all begins with good oral hygiene. When your mouth is happy, the rest of your body follows. With proper prevention and good oral health habits, you give yourself the best chance to fight off other infections and diseases. Stay safe, and we thank you for your continued support and cooperation during this time.
The study on gum disease and COVID-19 will be published in the October issue of JCDA. To read the full report, click here.