11 Mar

New study links gum disease to increased risk of Covid-19 complications

A new study suggests that people who have gum disease are more likely to develop complications of Covid-19. 

Research revealed that patients with severe gum disease were up to five times more likely to need ventilation and up to nine times more likely to die from Covid-19. The study involved more than 500 adult patients.

The link suggests that oral health and hygiene could play a critical role in helping to prevent serious disease, as gum disease is one of the most common conditions in the UK. It is estimated that up to 90% of UK adults have some form of gum disease, with most displaying mild symptoms. Despite its prevalence, gum disease is preventable.

Dr Nigel Carter OBE, chief executive of the Oral Health Foundation, which has published the findings, said that this is the latest in a long line of studies that connect oral and general health. The study indicates that taking good care of the teeth and gums can lower the risk of complications of Covid-19, most notably, serious, life-threatening symptoms that require intensive treatment, including assisted ventilation. 

Dr Carter suggested that the findings of the study further underline the importance of preventative measures. Gum disease can cause irreversible damage to the gums and the bone tissue beneath, but it can be prevented. Good oral hygiene, healthy eating, visiting the dentist regularly and avoiding smoking are all effective measures for lowering the risk of gum disease.

Dr Carter also urged members of the public to seek advice if they do develop symptoms of gum disease. In the early stages, gum disease is easy to treat and manage and early intervention is key to preventing the condition from progressing. Signs to look out for include bleeding when brushing, swelling, tenderness and pain in the gums.