Importance of Oral Health in COVID-19 Era

Are you overdue for your dental wellness exam and cleaning? Have you been too preoccupied to schedule an appointment? While we understand that everyone is doing their best in this unprecedented time, you may want to rethink putting off scheduling or postponing your appointment.

A case study published on January 18, 2021 by the Journal of Clinical Periodontology on the Association between periodontitis and severity of COVID-19 infection concluded that “periodontitis was associated with higher risk of ICU admission, need for assisted ventilation and death of COVID-19 patients, and with increased blood levels of biomarkers linked to worse disease outcomes.”

The aim of the study was to investigate the association of periodontitis (gum disease) with COVID-19 complications and showed that the risk of COVID-19 complications were significantly higher among patients with moderate-to-severe gum disease compared to those with milder or no gum disease. 

Specifically, the study found that “COVID-19 patients with gum disease were 3.5 times more likely to be admitted to intensive care, 4.5 times more likely to need assisted breathing (ventilator), and close to 9 times more likely to die compared to COVID-19 patients without gum disease.”

Periodontitis shares common risk factors with most chronic inflammatory diseases known to influence COVID-19 severity, and has been shown to affect systemic health systems including cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, hypertension, chronic renal disease, pneumonia, cancer, and increases the risk or mortality. Additionally, the study revealed that the oral cavity and/or periodontal pockets of those with gum disease could act as a viral reservoir (basically incubating the virus)!

It is crucial, now more than ever, that we do everything necessary to reduce risk, and this includes oral care. If you’re overdue for your wellness exam with your dentist, we are advising you to come in as soon as possible to have your gums evaluated. Call us for an appointment (773)631-6060.