Your oral health could save your life

 

Last week a new study was reported in The Times that has discovered a link between poor oral hygiene and the symptoms of Covid-19. It stated periodontitis (gum disease) could put you ‘at serious risk of developing severe or fatal Covid-19 as well as other illnesses such as dementia, diabetes and heart disease.’

The study of more than 500 Covid-19 patients, found that those with gum disease were almost nine times more likely to die compared with those not suffering from it. Covid-19 patients with gum disease were also three and a half times more likely to be admitted into intensive care and four and a half times more likely to need a ventilator.

First published in the Journal of Clinical Periodontology it suggests that what links the two is inflammation. For periodontitis does not just cause gums to be inflamed and bleed — it can spark a harmful chronic inflammatory response throughout the body. The study found that those who had gum disease, had significantly higher levels of inflammatory substances circulating in their bloodstream than those without periodontitis.

It went on, that severe and fatal cases of Covid-19 are strongly associated with a hyperactive inflammatory immune system response and so when a patient’s body is inflamed with gum disease, an immune system overreaction to Covid-19 may be more likely and more severe.

“The Covid study is another pointer to the fact that you need to have a healthy mouth for your overall health,” says Nicola West, the secretary general of the European Federation of Periodontology, a professor of periodontology and the head of restorative dentistry at Bristol University.

“The mouth is a window on the body. Bacteria in the mouth get into the bloodstream, where they can harm the rest of the body. This explains why gum disease has been linked with diabetes, cardiovascular disease and dementia.”

Dr Mervyn Druian comments: ”If you notice that your gums are bleeding it is imperative that you book an appointment with your dentist. Not only just because of the detrimental effect to your oral health, but gum disease has been connected to a number of serious illnesses.

I have seen two studies in cardiovascular disease and diabetes, which have shown that if you treat the gum disease, you can help reduce the severity of your illness. I cannot implore you enough, if you have sore or bleeding gums book an appointment with your dentist today.”

To prevent gum disease please attend regular hygiene appointments every 3 or 4 months and annual examinations with your dentist.⁠

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