Gum disease and COVID-19 result in life threatening complications
Emerging research has suggested a there’s a connection between gum disease and SARS-CoV-2, according to a new report, “The Mouth COVID Connection (MCC).” The review study, which has been accepted for publication for the October 2020 issue of the Journal of the California Dental Association (JCDA), suggests that hospitalized coronavirus patients with prior underlying gum disease can be at higher risk for respiratory failure.
The MCC study suggests a link between the bacteria in inflamed gums and bone loss—symptoms of chronic periodontitis—and COVID-19 complications. Researchers suggest that patients with high levels of IL-6 (interleukin), a harmful protein that is elevated in gum disease, can be at greater risk of suffering life-threatening respiratory problems. A critical study in Germany tested COVID-19 patients for the IL-6 protein while they were hospitalized and determined that patients that presented high Il-6 levels were more likely to need a ventilator to breathe.
The study was conducted by Dr. Shervin Molayem, a dental surgeon based in Los Angeles and founder of the UCLA Dental Research Journal, and Dr. Carla Pontes, a scientist and healthcare researcher in South Africa.