Gum Disease and Coronavirus – What’s the Connection?
August 23, 2020
Laura Lee

After months of research on it, we can already know for sure that the Coronavirus doesn’t attack only the respiratory system. Other systems in the body are affected by it as well, and with time, it seems the virus can leave behind it serious damage in different organs in the body. Accordingly, various factors can affect the severity of the disease, and people with background diseases, even if not necessarily respiratory ones, could be at greater risk of getting hurt by the virus. Recently, researchers from Brazil and the U.S found another factor that could affect the severity of the disease – gum disease.

 

The researchers found a link between gum diseases to the risk of suffering from a severe case of COVID. The researchers reviewed former studies of the subject and found that corona patients with high levels of an inflammatory protein originated in the immune system – interleukin-6 ( IL-6 ) – which indicates inflammation of the gums, are at a higher risk of needing a respirator. Gum disease is a wide term for various medical conditions of varying severity that can be caused by inflammation (such as gingivitis and periodontitis.) It is known that chronic inflammatory conditions in the body can increase the risk of serious diseases. And, sure enough, a link was found between gum disease and chronic heart and lung diseases – which are also risk factors for a severe corona case.

 

 

The study was recently uploaded to the Internet before its official publication in the October issue of the California Dental Association journal. The researchers noted that as part of the body’s fight against the coronavirus, it produces large amounts of cells belonging to the immune system, including the IL-6 protein. The problem is, people with gum disease, already have a significant amount of IL-6 protein, so, more of it could lead to severe complications. “IL-6 is involved in the dismantling of bones, tissue decomposition and when it comes to blood vessels, it can prevent them from expanding,” explained Dr. Sherwin Standing, who participated in the research for the Daily Mail.

 

The IL-6 protein belongs to a group of cells of the immune system called cytokines, which are involved in the same “cytokine storm” observed in corona patients in a severe condition. Although a cytokine storm is a response of the immune system to the virus, it is a severe reaction that has led to life-threatening conditions and even death in some corona patients. In their paper, the researchers call for maintaining the health of the oral cavity and gums as an additional means of reducing the risk of developing an acute form of corona. Please take care of yourself and your health, and remain safe.

 

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