COVID-19 patients with gum disease are more likely to experience respiratory failure, according to the Journal of California Dental Association.
The findings put a new focus on oral health and the importance of primary care physicians and their patients discussing dental care.
Through scholarly review, the authors of the study confirmed potential biological links between COVID-19 and gum disease. One important discovery is that the overflow of a protein associated with gum disease can circulate the body, causing systemic inflammation.
In addition, bacteria can enter the circulatory system through the space between the teeth and surrounding gum tissue.
The study also noted that some oral bacteria could even reach parts of the respiratory tract, potentially putting the lungs at greater risk for infection, inflammation, and pulmonary complications.
It appears there’s a strong connection between the need for mechanical ventilation and patients with high protein serum levels, which are indicators of an inflammatory condition.
The elevated levels predict respiratory failure and multiply the risk for complications by 22 times.
Healthy gums can do more than help protect against COVID-19.
The mouth is a complicated part of the body. It’s filled with bacteria that can escape into other parts of the body through blood vessels.
This close relationship with our health means pro-inflammatory proteins can invade the body and play a role in developing a disease that impacts the entire body.
Preventing this dangerous inflammation can occur when dentists and dental hygienists remove plaque biofilm during professional dental hygiene treatment. Dental professionals are skilled in diagnosing oral inflammation and in the science of preventing this spread throughout the body. Regular preventive care and a through home care regimen can strengthen the immune system, making individuals more resistant to disease and complications from infections such as Covid-19.