Gum Disease and Covid-19: Is There a Link?

A recent case-controlled study questioned if the presence of severe gum disease (periodontitis) could be associated with COVID-19. The research was conducted between February and July 2020, utilizing more than 500 national electronic records from the Oral Health Institute of the State of Qatar in Southwest Asia. Researchers examined records of COVID-19 patients who had exhibited severe complications and required assisted ventilations, required intensive care or even passed away.

Reported last month in the Journal of Clinical Periodontology, the official publication of the European Federation of Periodontology (EFP), the study concluded that of those COVID-19 patients with periodontitis, patients were:

  • 3.5 times more likely to be admitted to intensive care
  • 4.5 times more likely to need a ventilator
  • Nearly 9 times more likely to die compared to those individuals who didn’t have gum disease

Long-Term Conclusions 

Periodontal professionals like those of us here at the South Florida Center for Periodontics & Implant Dentistry see studies like this as even more confirmation why oral care is so important, not just during a pandemic but always. Severe gum disease, if left untreated, is thought to spread bacteria through the body, causing inflammation linked to a multitude of diseases like diabetes, heart disease, pneumonia, kidney disease, some cancers, osteoarthritis and more, as well as low birth rate and premature birth.

The authors of the COVID-19 study said that “If a casual link is established between periodontitis and increased rates of adverse outcomes in COVID-19 patients, then establishing and maintaining periodontal health may become an important part of the care of these patients.”

If You Think You Have Gum Disease

We treat gum disease from its earliest form (gingivitis) right through severe gum disease (periodontitis) using a full complement of today’s latest periodontal tools and techniques, including non-surgical treatments like scaling and root planing (deep cleaning) as well as bone grafting if required. Our PerioLase® MVP-7™ laser allows us to offer the popular LANAP® treatment to reverse gum disease and help connective tissue and bone form between the gums and teeth.

Safe for Individuals with Blood Disorders

LANAP® “vaporizes” diseased tissue and bacteria, leaving behind healthy gum tissue. This state-of-the-art laser treatment is minimally invasive, causes little discomfort, yet is safe, highly effective and requires no sutures. LANAP® is even safe for patients with bleeding disorders, or those who are taking blood thinners or have diseases like diabetes. Patients can drive themselves home from our office after LANAP® treatment since only local anesthesia is required.

If you’re interested in learning more about LANAP® or other treatment methods to combat gum disease, please complete our brief online questionnaire. You can also call our Boca Raton office at 561-912-9993.