Adapted from Verificat, May 26
The Spanish Society of Periodontology (SEPA in Spanish) said in April that “periodontitis aggravates the systemic condition of Covid-19 patients and increases the risk of complications”, although it based its thesis “on observational studies” that “do not allow extracting definitive conclusions”.
If confirmed, periodontitis should be considered as a risk factor tied to a severe Covid-19, point out the British experts, as has been done for diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, and respiratory diseases, among others.
SARS-CoV-2 is spread by breathing in respiratory droplets from an infected person or when a person touches their mouth, nose, or eyes after having been in touch with a contaminated surface. This is the reason why health authorities insist on the use of masks, social distancing and washing hands frequently.
The theory from scientists based in Birmingham, England point to gingival sulcus –the deep space formed by the inner part of the gum and the tooth surface– could allow the entry of viral particles and bacteria. Hence, SARS-CoV-2 could introduce itself in the capillaries of the gums and would reach the lungs through the bloodstream.
“Although to some extent the crossing of the virus through the nasal and buccal mucosa membranes can happen in healthy individuals, the presence of a poor bucodental health could act as a risk factor to more prone individuals to develop the Covid-19 lung disease…”, the scientists noted.
Periodontitis plays an important role in the worsening of some diseases. For diabetes, it contributes to uncontrolled blood glucose levels and, in those cases of advanced periodontitis, it rises threefold the risk of cardiorenal mortality compared to diabetic people without periodontitis.
The researchers ask for studies because “it is not yet known if the virus can be transported” through the bloodstream from the gums.
“The theory could be even more corroborated by matching the jugular viral load with the salivary viral load, the seriousness of the periodontitis and the use of specific mouthwashes or other buccal hygiene measures.”
While waiting for results, they recommend daily buccal hygiene and measures to control the advance of dental plaque.