COVID and Teeth

Some days are quiet while others full of news.

A study by researchers at McGill University links bacterial infections in the mouth with an increased risk of dying from COVID-19.

Periodontitis is a relatively common bacterial infection that occurs along the line separating teeth and gums. However, it’s hardly benign. Within the area of the mouth, the disease can damage gums, cause teeth decay, and even erode the jaw bone. This infection has been known to spread to other parts of the body and is linked to heart disease and diabetes.

The analysis by the McGill team shows that people with periodontitis are 8 times as likely to die from COVID-19, and 3.5 times as likely as others to require hospitalization.

The analysis relies on health data from QATAR, which contains electronic data for both dental and medical care.

What we don’t know from this analysis is the relationship between periodontitis and obesity. It makes sense that there would be a link, and obesity is also known to be related to worse COVID outcomes. So a question remains: does periodontitis affect COVID results independently of the weight issue or not? Hopefully, the researchers considered this in their data analysis, but if so, it’s not reported in this announcement.

Bottom line: Oral care matters.


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