Brushing Your Teeth Can Save Your Life: Strong Link Discovered Between Gum Diseases And COVID-19
Good Dental Hygiene Can Stave Off COVID Complications, Says New Study
In yet another disconcerting news, researchers announced that there may be a connection between gum diseases and COVID-related deaths. The study conducted at McGill University in Montreal, Canada revealed strong links between gum inflammation and infection and severe COVID-19 complications.
The study found out that people with periodontitis were 8 times more likely to succumb to COVID-19. Additionally, they were also 3.5 times more likely to require intensive care and also need ventilators 4.5 times more than healthy individuals.
Periodontitis is the clinical term for gum infection caused by bacteria in the absence of good oral hygiene. If left untreated, it causes painful abscesses, tooth decay and even damages the jawbone.
Prof. Belinda Nicolau, McGill’s Faculty of Dentistry and a contributing author said, “Looking at the conclusions of our study, we can highlight the importance of good oral health in the prevention and management of COVID-19 complications. There is a very strong correlation between periodontitis and disease outcome.”
A parallel study conducted in Europe also produced similar findings. Symptoms of inflammation in the body were reported to be higher in COVID patients nursing gum diseases, suggesting a link between inflammation and increased COVID complications.
Lior Shapira, President-elect of the European Federation of Periodontology (EEP), said that their findings indicated a strong possibility that oral inflammation may increase the severity of COVID complications. “Oral care should be part of the health recommendations to reduce the risk for severe COVID-19 outcomes,” he added.
Presently, these reports are just findings that strongly hint at the possible nexus between gum disease and COVID-19. Nothing has been concretely determined yet. However, if a causal link is established between periodontitis and severe COVID complications, it will be another addition to a constantly growing list of health risks.
The easiest way to avoid such complications will be to maintain a good oral hygiene and habituating ourselves to brushing, daily flossing and regular dental check-ups. This is easier said than done. The most severe cases of COVID-19 are in the developing and third-world countries where most of the population is stranger to dental hygiene. It will take a herculean effort to educate these masses about dental care and hygiene. Or, we could re-popularize the nursery rhyme we are all familiar with – This is the way we brush our teeth, Early in the morning.