Flossing Lowers Risk of Complications from COVID-19, Study Finds

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:


  • Oral care habits can prevent you from dying from the novel coronavirus, as well as getting hospitalized for it.
  • According to a study published in the Journal of Clinical Periodontology, Covid -19 patients with periodontitis, a form of gum disease, reported a 900% heightened risk of dying from complications brought on by the virus.
  • Severe periodontitis, which develops from not brushing and flossing on a daily basis, affects 50% of British adults and American adults.

For decades, flossing had been recommended by dentists as a crucial part of oral hygiene. But maintaining good oral habits isn’t just about protecting your pearly whites. Rather, gum disease, as found in a recent study, has been associated with several other diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, as well as a heightened COVID-19 mortality rate.

Gingivitis, a gum disease, which results from poor oral hygiene habits such as not brushing and flossing daily, can progress to severe periodontitis when ignored. This condition affects 50% of British adults per a European Federation of Periodontology study and the same can be said among American adults in a CDC study.

Findings of the current study published in the Journal of Clinical Periodontology indicated that COVID-19 afflicted patients who had gum disease had significantly greater odds of dying from the virus by 900% and are 350% more likely to be admitted to the ICU.

Though the two conditions are completely unrelated, the link points out to the “exacerbated inflammatory response” generated by Covid-19, which is a distinctive trait of periodontitis, otherwise known as gum disease.

This effect is caused by how the various immune agents in the body function. For example, an immune cell called inflammatory cytokines is one of the main inducers of COVID-19 deaths due to their excessive inflammation resulting from the virus’s “cytokine storm” in the body.

Fortunately, periodontitis can be reversed through good oral care practices such as regular brushing, flossing, and mouthwash use.

“The mouth is a window on the body. Bacteria in the mouth get into the bloodstream where they can harm the rest of the body,” Nicola West, European Federation of Periodontology secretary-general, told the Times of London.

This is the reason why gum disease has been connected to diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and dementia, West explained. In fact, another study by West found that bacteria present in patients with periodontitis were discovered in the brains of patients who died from Alzheimer’s disease. This is due to the bacteria possibly crossing to other parts of the body, impairing the immune system over time and increasing our risk for gum disease.

“The Covid study is another pointer to the fact that you need to have a healthy mouth for your overall health,” West added. 

Source: Good News Network

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