COVID-19 Study Links Gum Disease to Respiratory Failure

Gum disease has been linked to lung issues, including COPD. Most recently, in a report that’s been labeled “The Mouth COVID Connection” (MCC), researchers say that hospitalized COVID-19 patients with prior gum disease from chronic periodontitis may be at a higher risk of respiratory failure.

Dr. Shervin Molayem, a Los Angeles-based dental surgeon who co-conducted the study, said that “periodontitis (gum disease) can make it (COVID-19) even deadlier.”

The study, to be published in the Journal of the CDA (California Dental Association) next month,  examined hospitalized COVID-19 patients and checked them for high levels of IL-6 (interleukin), a protein that is elevated in patients with gum disease. The study showed that the COVID-19 patients with high IL-6 levels were the ones most likely to need a ventilator to breathe. In fact, the study determined that COVID-19 patients with IL-6 levels above 80pg/ml were 22 times more likely to experience acute respiratory issues.

Many researchers consider periodontitis one of the most under-diagnosed conditions in dentistry. Treating this severe form of gum disease lowers inflammation and IL-6 levels, which, according to this study, could decrease the severity of complications for patients with COVID-19.

It’s no doubt that periodontal disease poses a health threat. The Pennsylvania Center for Dental Implants and Periodontics, led by board-certified periodontists Dr. Philip L. Fava II and Dr. Robert A. Levine, offers the country’s most advanced gum disease periodontal technologies. Call us today to arrange a consultation!