Covid-19 and Gum Disease: is there a link?
Gum disease, or Periodontal disease (including Gingivitis and Periodontitis) is a bacterial infection affecting the gums and in severe cases, the bone surrounding the teeth.
Globally gum disease is one of the most wide-spread, non-communicable diseases and is generally considered to be the leading cause of tooth loss. It is usually pain-free and can be easily missed particularly in the early stages, meaning that many people will have gum disease without even being aware of it.
Gum Disease and the COVID-19 Connection
Gum Disease (or Periodontal disease) has long been associated with health conditions such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, respiratory diseases, rheumatoid arthritis, and some cancers.
There is emerging evidence that periodontitis also has links to chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases, and in light of the COVID-19 pandemic research is now being undertaken to determine a link between COVID- 19 and periodontitis.
Findings from a recent study published by an International team in the Journal of Clinical Periodontology suggest that Covid-19 patients with Periodontitis (sometimes referred to as ‘gum disease’) were found to be:
- 5 times more likely to be admitted to intensive care units,
- 5 times more likely to require a ventilator,
- Nearly 9 times more likely to die when compared to Covid-19 patients without gum disease.
When accounting for factors that can influence Covid-19 severity, for example age, smoking, diabetes high blood pressure, the study still showed the risks of Covid-19 complications were significantly higher in patients with moderate to severe Periodontitis.
Professor Lior Shapira (president-elect of the European Federation of Periodontology) commented that the results of the study “suggest that the inflammation in the oral cavity may open the door to the coronavirus becoming more violent”.
Researchers have emphasised that more research is required to understand just how strong the correlation is between Periodontitis and Covid complications. However, these early findings demonstrate a compelling link between Periodontitis and Covid-19.
Do you have periodontal disease?
Gum disease is commonly known as the ‘silent’ disease. However, the most common symptoms to look out for can include:
- Bleeding gums whilst brushing or even eating (which can be masked by cigarette smoking)
- Red, swollen gums
- Bad breath
- Spaces appearing between teeth
- Loose teeth or teeth moving position in the mouth
- Receding gums
- Sensitivity to cold or hot foods and drinks
Do not overlook bleeding, sore, or inflamed gums, or any abnormalities in your teeth. The quicker you can learn that you may be suffering from an infection of some kind, the faster it can be treated and the less likely it is to become serious.
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, make an appointment with Dr Tawfiqur Rahman our Periodontist here at one80 Dental.
Take care of your periodontal health at one80 Dental – how we can help
Now more than ever taking care of your periodontal health is paramount. The good news is that with the right care gum disease is preventable, and if caught early enough is easily treatable.
At one80 Dental our experienced periodontal services team can provide advanced treatments to address damage caused by periodontitis and take a preventative approach in the care of diseases and disorders (infection and inflammation) of the gums and other structures around the teeth.
If you are worried about your gum health or have been advised that you have gum disease our Sheffield based dental practice is here to help.
For more information about treating gum disease please call us to speak to our friendly team or fill out our contact form.