COVID-19 is being studied by researchers all over the world. Where did it come from? How can we stop it? While we cannot answer these questions definitively, researchers are still tackling the pandemic and its relationship with other serious health problems. For example, researchers have been studying the effects that COVID-19 may have on common diseases, such as periodontitis.
The Clinical Association Between Periodontitis and COVID-19 doesn’t aim to answer the unknowns about the pandemic. The researchers take the disease how it comes. This study aims to find out how periodontitis can affect the outcome of the disease, however severe it appears in a patient’s system. They are determined to begin the discussion on whether periodontitis can have detrimental effects on the already compromised system of COVID-19 patients.
Periodontitis and Viral Diseases
By all intents and purposes, periodontitis is also a pandemic that we have been combating since its recognition. While the sheer number of victims of the virus is staggering, and the disease is undeniably deadly, there are even more people diagnosed with periodontitis, which these particular researchers believe may increase the intensity of the virus in its victims exponentially due to the nature of the chronic oral disease.
Many doctors and dental health professionals like us agree with the discovery that periodontitis itself increases the chance of viral infection through its manipulation of the makeup of your saliva and the autoimmune response your body takes to fight the infection. The bacteria and the periodontal necrosis that can occur offers the virus just another entry into the body.
Also, the nature of periodontitis occupies the immune system, using resources that can weaken the system, making it harder to combat the virus. Once a person contracts the virus, further bacterial and respiratory problems entering through the oral cavity can flourish and decrease a person’s chances of survival.
Troubled Relationships: It’s All About Acute-phase Reactants
The authors decided to forgo the study methods used previously by scientists studying this link because they relied on general health reports and self-reports that potentially skewed data. These researchers used a real-time clinical method for the most accurate results available to reach this conclusion. Direct examinations and immediate interviews with practitioners and patients
The discovery of pro-inflammatory acute-phase reactants, such as CRP, specifically determines the host’s levels of immunity for both periodontitis and COVID-19. CRP levels, amongst other reactants, are used to figure out the severity of both diseases, meaning that there is a correlation between the two diseases. If these acute-phase reactants are already present in the body from periodontitis, they will decrease a patient’s resistance and a chance of survival from the coronavirus.
It can be said, for certain, that any immune problems originally caused by periodontitis will exacerbate the coronavirus. But does periodontitis itself directly cause serious cases?
The Correlation is in the Outcome
Gupta, Mohindra, et al., said it best in their study: Compromised periodontal outcome measures correlated significantly with the event of hospital admissions; i.e., patients suffering from COVID-19 with periodontal disease were more likely to be admitted to a hospital as compared to those who were not. … Periodontal disease would then have both a direct and indirect impact upon COVID-19-related outcomes by virtue of its presence.
Periodontitis is known more for its uncanny ability to spread serious bacterial infections and inflammation throughout the body. Still, the inevitable breakdown of the oral immunity barrier can draw viruses in as well. While periodontitis itself does not determine whether a person will get COVID-19, it increases their chances of getting it and suffering greatly from it.
To put it simply, there is a very, very high chance of hospitalization, and even death, in patients who contract the coronavirus while they suffer from periodontitis, and this link cannot be ignored. It’s essential for our patients to understand that the health of their mouths is directly related to the health of their entire bodies.
Further studies on the relationship between periodontitis and viruses are warranted to cement these findings as cannon.