Gum disease has already been shown to have a connection with heart disease, strokes, respiratory infections, and other potentially serious medical conditions. Nowadays, though, there’s a fresh new health concern that could potentially be made worse by a gum infection: COVID-19. As the COVID pandemic continues, more and more research is being performed regarding the risk factors of the disease, and recent findings have shown that patients with gum disease could potentially be in severe danger. Read on to learn more about what studies are suggesting about the link between COVID and gum disease – and why maintaining a healthy smile might be especially crucial now more than ever.
What Do Recent Studies Say About COVID and Gum Disease?
In Qatar, a team of doctors performed a case-control study using national electronic health records of the state. They were specifically examining the relationship between COVID-19 and gum disease since both conditions are associated with inflammation. For the study, 568 patients between February and July 2020 were examined. The study specifically included COVID cases where complications (such as death or admissions to the ICU) occurred. The outcomes for COVID patients with gum disease were compared to those without it.
The results were eye-opening. It was found that COVID patients with advanced gum disease were about 3.5 times more likely to need intensive care, and they were 4.5 times more likely to suffer from symptoms so severe that a ventilator was required. Most concerning of all was the fatality rate; gum disease patients were found to be nearly 9 times as likely to die from COVID compared to those without gum disease.
It’s important to note that study did not address causality. In other words, it is not conclusive that gum disease will directly lead to more severe COVID complications. With that said, these findings strongly indicate a relationship between the two conditions.
How Can You Protect Yourself from Gum Disease?
Keeping your gums healthy will go a long way towards keeping the rest of your body healthy. If you want to minimize your risk factors for COVID and other systemic health issues, you need to start paying closer attention to your oral health. Important steps that can help prevent gum disease include:
- Brushing a minimum of two times every day.
- Flossing every day to clean the spaces between the teeth.
- Continuing to visit the dentist for regular checkups and cleanings.
- Giving up or staying away from tobacco products.
Talk to your periodontist in Belmont if you have concerns about the impact gum disease might be having on your overall health. Protecting your mouth could very well mean keeping the rest of your body safe from the absolute worst of COVID.
About the Author
Dr. Alexander R. Schrott has been board-certified by both the American and German Boards of Periodontology. He is also an active member of the American Academy of Periodontology. He offers a variety of treatments for mild to severe gum disease so that you can protect your mouth as well as the rest of your body. To schedule a consultation at his Belmont practice, visit his website or call (617) 484-9240.