Good oral health may prevent severe COVID-19 progression
A recent article from the German Society of Dentistry and Oral Medicine (DGZMK) has stressed the importance of dental prevention and the systemic relevance of dentistry, especially in times of the pandemic. Recent studies have indicated that maintaining good oral health may prevent a severe course of the disease.
“In the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, dentistry has a particularly important role to play in keeping the oral cavity healthy. Dental prophylaxis strengthens the immunocompetence at the point of entry of the virus and helps to avoid infection or to mitigate its course,” said Prof. Roland Frankenberger, president of the DGZMK, in a press release.
A healthy oral cavity acts as a barrier against all kinds of diseases, and according to Frankenberger, this is also true for COVID-19. He explained that there is data showing that, in areas where the lack of oral hygiene causes diseases such as caries or periodontitis, there are also more fatal courses of COVID-19. Upon request from Dental Tribune International, the expert provided information about three studies which focus on the oral cavity with regard to COVID-19.
Improved oral hygiene may reduce risk of complications
A study published in the British Dental Journal highlighted the importance of improved oral hygiene during a SARS-CoV-2 infection in order to reduce the bacterial load in the mouth and the risk of a bacterial superinfection. Those patients who were reported to have a severe form of COVID-19 (20%) had associated higher levels of inflammatory markers and bacteria. Therefore, the author of the study recommended that poor oral hygiene be considered as a risk factor for COVID-19 complications, especially in patients with diabetes, hypertension or cardiovascular disease. Those comorbidities are associated with altered oral biofilms and periodontal disease.
“[The intra-oral status] is not to be neglected under any circumstances”
Frankenberger also addressed the topic of periodontitis: “A patient suffering from periodontitis has subgingival periodontal disease. This means that he or she has—often unnoticed—an open wound of about 40 cm2 in the oral cavity. It is quite clear that this leaves the door wide open to a disease like COVID-19.”