COVID-19 Update - 10/02/2021
Research just published in the EFP’s Journal of Clinical Periodontology (JCP) shows an association between periodontitis and worse outcomes in patients with Covid-19. The case-control study, involving more than 500 patients, showed that periodontitis was associated with higher risk of admission to intensive care units (ICU), need for assisted ventilation, and morbidity in Covid‐19 patients. The study found that Covid-19 patients with periodontitis were 3.5 times more likely to be admitted to intensive care, 4.5 times more likely to need a ventilator, and almost nine times more likely to die compared to those without gum disease.
The study involved 568 patients diagnosed with Covid-19 between February and July 2020. Of these, 40 had complications. Information was collected on gum disease and other factors that might be associated with the Covid-19 complications, including body mass index (BMI), smoking, asthma, heart disease, diabetes, and high blood pressure. Data was also obtained on levels of chemicals in the blood related to inflammation in the body.
The researchers have said that if a causal link were established between periodontitis and increased rates of adverse outcomes in Covid-19 patients, “then establishing and maintaining periodontal health may become an important part of the care of these patients.”
Mariano Sanz of the Complutense University of Madrid, Spain, one of the study’s authors, noted that oral bacteria in patients with periodontitis can be inhaled and infect the lungs, particularly in those using a ventilator. “This may contribute to the deterioration of patients with Covid-19 and raise the risk of death,” he said. “The results of the study suggest that the inflammation in the oral cavity may open the door to the coronavirus becoming more violent,” added Lior Shapira, EFP president-elect and professor of periodontology. “Oral care should be part of the health recommendations to reduce the risk for severe Covid-19 outcomes.”
Reference: Marouf N, Cai W, Said KN, et al. Association between periodontitis and severity of COVID-19 infection: a case-control study. J Clin Periodontol. 2021. doi:10.1111/jcpe.13435.
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