Anyone who suffers from periodontitis has a higher risk of ending up in the intensive care unit if they develop corona. So far it has been known that a number of previous illnesses increase the risk of severe Covid-19 courses.
A current study carried out in Qatar shows that the periodontal disease is also to be regarded as a risk factor for a severe course. Between February and July 2020, the case-control study was conducted on 568 patients using the national electronic health record, which contained medical and dental data.
Complications occurred in 40 people in the course of the COVID-19 infection – the patients needed assisted ventilation, had to be transferred to the intensive care unit or even died.
Died nine times more often
The study found that after taking into account categories such as age, gender, nicotine consumption, and body mass index, patients with periodontal disease were 3.5 times more likely to be admitted to the intensive care unit, 4.5 times more likely to need a ventilator, and almost nine times more often die than those without gum disease. Inflammation-related biomarkers were also increased in patients with periodontal disease.
Mariano Sanz, one of the authors of the study, noted that oral bacteria are inhaled in patients with periodontal disease and can infect the lungs, especially in those who use a ventilator. “This can contribute to the deterioration of patients with coronavirus and increase the risk of death,” he said, recommending that hospital staff identify patients with periodontal disease and use oral antiseptics on them to reduce bacterial transmission.
Bettina Dannewitz, President of the German Society for Periodontology, adds: “Establishing and maintaining periodontal health can become an important part of the care of Covid-19 patients. Oral care should be part of health recommendations to reduce the risk of severe disease. Therefore, regular dental check-ups should also and especially in the pandemic situation be made use of by the patient in order to prevent avoidable risk factors for a severe course. “