British researchers Victoria Sampson a general dentist from a dental practice 38 Devonshire Street, London, Nawar Kamona from the Centre for Nutrition Education & Lifestyle Management (CNELM), London and Ariane Sampson from Orthodontics, Cambridge University Hospital Trust, United Kingdom combined to find the severity of COVID-19 severity in poor oral hygiene patients. Their study titled, “Could there be a link between oral hygiene and the severity of SARS-CoV-2 infections?” was published in the latest issue of the journal British Dental Journal.
The world health organization declared a global emergency on January 30th, 2020 due to an increase in the number of cases of COVID-19, this is also known as SARS-CoV-2 or novel coronavirus infection.
So much research has been done to date to know the risk factors associated with the disease, they say many patients have been recovered without any complications but some may need hospitalization, oxygen supplementation, and even ventilation. A few risk factors associated to increase the viral infection are high blood pressure, diabetes obesity, and heart disease.
The researchers wrote, “We explore the connection between high bacterial load in the mouth and post-viral complications, and how improving oral health may reduce the risk of complications from COVID-19”. They did research on the severity of the virus on patients with poor oral hygiene.
The authors wrote that during lung infection, there is a risk of oral secretions getting into the lungs, which could cause infection. Few of the bacteria present in the mouth that could cause such lung infections to include “Porphyromonas gingivalis, Fusobacterium nucleatum, Prevotella intermedia,”.Actually periodontitis or infection of the gums is one of the most prevalent causes of harmful bacteria in the mouth. These bacteria lead to the formation of cytokines such as Interleukin 1 (IL1) and Tumor necrosis factor (TNF), which can be detected in the saliva and can reach the lungs leading to infection within them. Thus, the researchers wrote, “inadequate oral hygiene can increase the risk of inter-bacterial exchanges between the lungs and the mouth, increasing the risk of respiratory infections and potentially post-viral bacterial complications.”
The result reveals that poor oral hygiene is not directly associated with COVID-19, but it reduces the associated risk factor of the virus such as heart disease, diabetes, and high blood pressure. The authors wrote that “Good oral hygiene has been recognized as a means to prevent airway infections in patients, especially in those over the age of 70”,25% raised the risk of heart disease, thrice the risk of getting diabetes, and 20% raised the risk of getting high blood pressure.