Patients with gum disease at risk of not recovering from covid-19
Coronavirus patients who have been hospitalized are far more likely to die of respiratory failure if they suffered from periodontitis before contracting COVID-19, according to an international team of dental researchers.
Hospitalized COVID-19 patients with high levels of interleukin (IL-6), a harmful protein produced by periodontitis, were at significantly greater risk of suffering life-threatening respiratory problems during the three-month study.
The study was prompted by earlier research regarding hospitalized COVID-19 patients in Germany who were tested for IL6 while they were in critical condition and unable to breathe without the help of a ventilator.
According to the researchers, the study suggests that COVID-19 patients with bad gums face a much greater risk of generating harmful IL-6 proteins that spread to their lungs and trigger a life-threatening respiratory crisis.
“Gum disease has been linked to other breathing ailments, including pneumonia and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, so we weren’t surprised to find a link to respiratory problems with COVID-19,” said researcher Shervin Molayem, DDS, a dental surgeon based on Los Angeles and founder of the UCLA Dental Research Journal.