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Gum Disease Can Worsen Virus Complications

A recent article from the University of Utah Health explains how gum disease—a dental condition found in 90 percent of the population—can worsen complications of COVID-19. 

Like tooth decay, gum disease is primarily caused by poor oral hygiene. But rather than causing cavities, gum disease attacks the bones supporting the teeth. Research has linked gum disease with a variety of medical conditions, including heart disease. The UUH article describes how a bacterial infection in the gums can trigger a “cytokine storm,” a serious inflammatory response in the body:   

‘Those same inflammatory products can enter the bloodstream through infected gum pockets around the teeth,’ says David Okano, DDS, MS, section head of periodontics at the University of Utah School of Dentistry. ‘When inflammatory products from gum disease enter the bloodstream, those products can go to other body organs and potentially cause tissue damage.’

“A study . . . published in the October 2020 issue of the Journal of the California Dental Association (JCDA) suggests that hospitalized coronavirus patients with prior underlying gum disease may be at higher risk for respiratory failure. . . . Damage in the lungs can lead to respiratory failure and require hospitalized COVID-19 patients to be put on a ventilator. While this research is in its early stages, what is known is that periodontal health is connected to your overall systemic health.”

Information sourced by Jonathan Richter, DDS, FAGD, of Cariodontal, 310 E. Shore Rd., Ste. 101, Great Neck, NY. For more information or to schedule an appointment, call 516-282-0310 or visit See ad, back cover. 

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