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A new review study has concluded that patients with periodontal disease may have an increased risk of developing COVID-19-related respiratory complications. (Image: zlikovec/Shutterstock)

Periodontal status may play role in COVID-19 severity

By Brendan Day, Dental Tribune International
October 08, 2020

LOS ANGELES, U.S.: The link between periodontal disease and systemic conditions such as cardiovascular disease is, by now, well established in the scientific literature. A new review study has now suggested that untreated periodontal disease may be indirectly related to the intensity of COVID-19-related complications, highlighting the need for good oral health during these difficult times.

As outlined in the review, a recent study conducted in the German city of Munich found that elevated levels of interleukin-6 (IL-6), a pro-inflammatory cytokine, acted as a powerful predictor for respiratory failure and the eventual need for mechanical ventilation among patients who had been hospitalized with COVID-19. When left untreated, periodontal disease frequently leads to an increase of this pro-inflammatory cytokine. According to Dr. Shervin Molayem, a Los Angeles-based periodontist and co-author of the review, it is therefore “not an overstatement to conclude that periodontal disease can increase the risk of respiratory complications in COVID-19 patients.” Conversely, lowering IL-6 levels can potentially reduce the likelihood of these complications from occurring, he added.

“From the existing literature, we know that simply by performing a scaling and root planing procedure on a patient with periodontal disease, we can lower IL-6 levels by, on average, 3 pg/ml,” Molayem told Dental Tribune International.

Oral hygiene correlates with reduced complications

As reported by DTI back in June, a study published in the British Dental Journal highlighted the importance of improved oral hygiene during a SARS-CoV-2 infection, since it can reduce the bacterial load in the mouth and the associated risk of a bacterial superinfection. Patients reported to have a severe case of COVID-19 had associated higher levels of inflammatory markers and bacteria, leading the study’s authors to conclude that poor oral hygiene may be a risk factor for COVID-19 complications.

In the view of Molayem, provided that they are practicing appropriate infection control, dental practitioners should thus encourage their patients to continue receiving periodontal treatment and other forms of specialized care.

“Though it may seem obvious that the mouth is not separate from the body and that oral bacteria can have negative effects on other organs, delaying dental treatment underestimates the interconnectedness between the mouth and body,” he noted. Molayem added that conducting a serum test could quickly and easily measure a patient’s IL-6 levels to make sure that they are within normal limits.

The review, titled “The mouth–COVID connection: Il-6 levels in periodontal disease—potential role in COVID-19-related respiratory complications,” was published in the October 2020 issue of the Journal of the California Dental Association.

  1. Theresia says:

    Yes, it will soon be ! The scientists at TU Berlin are doing pre clinical tests at the moment. Fingers crossed

  2. Hebert says:

    Buenos días. Deseo información para asistir al evento.

  3. r.keijzer says:

    Fijn onderzoek . Vaak bijna net zo goed, met andere woorden er zijn dus ook geregeld situaties waarbij het FFP2 masker duidelijk minder presteert.
    Dus wat moeten we met die informatie , Ik neem liever geen enkel risico .Er staat eigenlijk , FFP2 is gewoon beter .

  4. Dental Tribune India says:

    Antigen negative means he is not infectious (he won’t spread). He is PCR positive, means he is infected and carries virus inside. But the viral load is too low to transmit and infect others.

  5. Freddie D. Chambers says:

    Is the new tooth regrowth therapy available anywhere in the world.
    Freddie Chambers

  6. Merin says:

    If Antigen is negetive and RT PCR positive what does is mean?. Is it covid positive or negative?
    Whether there is chance of getting spread of the disease?
    Dead viruses are present in our body wether it shows as RT PCR positive ?

  7. Irma herrejon cervantes says:

    Me pueden decir el precio de los cubrebocas

  8. christian marino says:


  9. ingrid leon says:

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  10. MUKESH PANDYA says:

    my wife 61yrs old, RT PCR value 32. 10th day after detection she has been asked to discharge. what are the possibilities of spreading virus. does she require home quarantine and how many days. what are the chances of repulsion. what is the best practice to stay healthy

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