Although avoiding the disease entirely is the goal, if you unfortunately have it, a predictor of severity is the presence of inflammation already in your body. It has been shown that the greater the severity of COVID leads to greater morbidity. Associated risk factors have been also linked to disease severity. These risk factors frequently are associated with heightened inflammation in the body.
Several things produce inflammation, among them periodontal or gum disease. It has been established scientifically that treating periodontal disease will lover the c reactive protein cardiac disease markers by as much as 100%. Reducing periodontal disease by proper cleanings and at a necessary interval will reduce the severity of COVID consequences as shown by the research of Richardson et al in the New York hospital system.
Some bacteria found in periodontal disease can be inhaled and cause inhalational pneumonia and predispose a patient to viral respiratory infections. Respiratory diseases such as COVID can lead to bacterial superinfections that complicate treatment and worsen symptoms.
In addition, the presence of periodontal disease indicates there is the presence of inflammatory factors that cause bone loss around the teeth. These same inflammatory factors are present in severe and fatal COVID cases when an exaggerated immune response syndrome called ‘cytokine storm” occurs.
This storm results in multiple organ shutdown and a fatal end. If the initial factors for heightened inflammation are not present, then the COVID does not have an initial leg to stand on and the treatment of a less severe infection can be more successful and adequate to prevent fatalities.
Follow your dentist’s advice on reducing and preventing periodontal disease to make your best shot at avoiding the severe consequences during this COVID pandemic .
- Richardson S, Hirsch JS, Narasimhan M, et al. Presenting characteristics, comorbidities, and outcomes among 5700 patients hospitalized with COVID-19 in the New York City area. JAMA; 2020;323(20):2052-2059. doi:10.1001/jama.2020.6775