OTTAWA – Researchers at McGill University in Canada have released the results of their international study of COVID-19 patients, showing that those with poor dental hygiene often experienced more prominent symptoms.

To conduct the study, researchers followed 568 Qatari COVID-19 patients. They obtained their medical and dental records, learning that those with periodontitis – the most severe form of gum disease – had more COVID-19 complications during the course of their illness.

Some specific findings of the study found that:

  • Patients were admitted to intensive care at a 3.5 times higher rate than those without gum disease.
  • Patients needed a ventilator at a 4.5 times higher rate.
  • Patients died at an 8.8 times higher rate from COVID-19.

Additional Findings

Out of all of the patients followed during the study, the 258 individuals with periodontal disease experienced a range of complications during the course of their illness. The number of those experiencing complications was 33, while only seven of those without the periodontal disease had complications.

Belinda Nicolau, an author of the study, explained that the study’s conclusions demonstrate that good oral health is very important in preventing and managing COVID-19 complications. She highlighted the fact that there is an extremely strong link between periodontitis and disease prognosis.

Gum Disease Frequency

Gum disease occurs whenever there is a buildup of plaque on and around the teeth. Plaque is a sticky substance containing bacteria and acids that irritate and inflame the gums, leading to the infection known as periodontal disease, commonly known as gum disease. If the disease progresses, it can cause the loss of teeth.

According to the Canadian Dental Association (CDA), periodontal disease is experienced by up to 70% of Canadians during some stage of their life. However, the disease is easily prevented by brushing twice daily and flossing the teeth.

Published in the Journal of Clinical Periodontology in February, the study indicated that those with periodontal disease displayed higher than normal levels of C-reactive protein and D-dimer in their blood. Both are biomarkers of increased bodily inflammation.

The researchers who conducted the study indicated that the higher than normal presence of these biomarkers may provide an explanation of why COVID-19 patients with periodontal disease have experienced more severe symptoms.

The researchers indicated that periodontal disease is an inflammatory condition that can spread throughout the body. The body responds by fighting this inflammation, which can lead to complications for COVID-19 patients who are already fighting a serious illness. Gum disease exacerbates the process and tends to cause more severe symptoms in these patients.

At Lancaster Dental – Kitchener Dentist Office, we strive to provide you with the best possible dental treatment and provide safe and quality care. If you have any questions or concerns please contact our dental office.

DISCLAIMER: The advice offered is intended to be informational only and generic in nature. It is in no way offering a definitive diagnosis or specific treatment recommendations for your particular situation.  Any advice offered is no substitute for proper evaluation and care by a qualified dentist.