Bacterial inflammation in the mouth: Periodontitis is a Covid-19 risk factor

Bacterial inflammation in the mouth
Periodontitis is a Covid-19 risk factor

Diabetes, obesity and cardiovascular diseases are just some of the identified risk factors that can negatively affect the course of Covid-19. Researchers are now adding another factor to the long list that is in the mouth.

Researchers from Qatar have found that there is a link between dental health and the course of Covid-19. According to their research results, patients with periodontitis, i.e. bacterial inflammation of the dental bed, who contract Covid-19, have a higher risk of being admitted to an intensive care unit and treated with intensive care compared to patients who do not have periodontitis. The risk of dying from Covid-19 also increases due to the disease in the mouth.

The research team led by Nadya Marouf from the Institute for Oral Health at Hamad Medical Corporation in Doha evaluated the medical and dental data of a total of 568 patients using the national electronic patient files. In 40 of them there were complications related to Covid-19 that forced admission to the intensive care unit and breathing support. The data was collected between February and July 2020.

Taking into account age, gender, nicotine consumption and body mass index, the analysis of the data showed that Covid 19 patients with periodontitis have to be transferred to intensive care units three and a half times more often. There they are four and a half times more likely to be connected to a ventilator and almost nine times more likely to die compared to Covid 19 patients who do not have periodontitis. In addition, the values ​​of several biomarkers that reflect inflammation in the body were increased in Covid-19 patients with periodontal disease.

Use of oral antiseptics advised

Mariano Sanz, who was also involved in the study, found that bacteria from the mouth in patients with periodontal disease can be inhaled and infect the lungs. This applies especially to patients who are connected to a ventilator, according to the dentist from Madrid. This could contribute to the worsening of the condition of Covid-19 patients and increase the risk of death, according to Sanz. Hospital staff must therefore identify Covid 19 patients with periodontitis and use oral antiseptics for them. This can reduce the transmission of bacteria from the mouth to the rest of the body.

In view of their results, the researchers call for periodontitis to be viewed as a further risk factor for a severe course of Covid-19. In addition, it becomes clear once again that bacterial inflammation of the tooth bed is a disease that not only takes place in the mouth, but also affects the entire body. The Study results were published in the Journal of Clinical Periodontology.

Dental check-ups, especially in the pandemic situation, should therefore be used regularly by patients in order to prevent avoidable risk factors for a severe course of Covid, adds Professor Bettina Dannewitz as President of the German Society for Periodontology eV

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