COVID-19: Gum Disease Triggers Hyperactive Immune Response

COVID-19: Gum Disease Triggers Hyperactive Immune Response

Gum Disease Triggers Hyperactive Immune Response

The trigger for Inflammatory conditions such as heart disease and diabetes has been found to be linked to gum disease.

In a study published in the Journal of Dental Research, scientists in the University of Toronto's Faculty of Dentistry have found the link, citing a relationship between the body's own hyperactive immune response gum disease and chronic systemic diseases.

In the recent study, the findings cite how poor oral health introduces complications for other inflammatory conditions and outcomes.

Although periodontal disease has been shown to be linked to inflammation in the body, the mechanism for this reactivity has not been found to date. This study shows that the body’s own hyperactive immune response is activated by the type of inflammation found in gum disease. With elevated inflammation, a larger number of neutrophils are produced as a result. This sets the body’s readiness to prevent infection at an elevated level.

When the immune system is primed to react systemically, a secondary event makes the Neutrophils attack more tissues and organs. For example, this is the result when insulin producing pancreatic cells are attacked by the immune system in diabetes, triggered by some viruses.

"We believe this is the mechanism by which oral hygiene can impact vulnerability to unrelated secondary health challenges," says lead author Noah Fine, a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Toronto's Faculty of Dentistry. "Neutrophil (immune) priming throughout the body can connect these seemingly distinct conditions," he says.

When COVID virus attacks, the elevated neutrophil level overwhelms normal tissues, and they are attacked in a process called a cytokine storm.

In addition to heart disease and diabetes, oral health may link severity of COVID-19 disease to the severity of oral inflammation. The authors state that patients with periodontal disease may be more likely to suffer more severe outcomes with COVID-19. The study presents evidence that Neutrophils cause cytokine storms which result in COVID mortality, and these are the same cells that are excessively activated in the presence of inflammatory gum disease.

This informative study shows that reducing periodontal inflammation is one way in which mortality and morbidity of COVID infection can be controlled. Make sure to keep your dental appointments for regular cleanings during this pandemic.

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