A research by Qatar University (QU) shows that gum infections can lead to developing severe Covid-19. Though bleeding gum while brushing can be a common factor and taken lightly, gum diseases can lead to severe Covid-19 due to many other factors, according to the details of the study published in the latest edition (December 2021) of the QU research magazine.
The research was led by Dr Nadia Maarout, associate consultant from Hamad Dental Centre and Dr Faleh Tamimi, associate dean for Academic Affairs, at the College of Dental Medicine, QU. The researchers say that the strong association between Covid-19 and oral health could be caused by the fact that periodontitis causes a chronic inflammation that makes patients more susceptible to the severe and dangerous inflammation caused by Covid-19.
The researchers investigated the records of 568 patients that suffered from Covid-19 and found that a significant portion of the patients that suffered severe Covid-19 complications and even death, had advanced periodontitis, a type of chronic inflammation of the gums.
“After adjusting for several factors such as patient’s age, gender and chronic diseases, the link between periodontitis and Covid-19 complications was statistically significant and it revealed that patients with periodontitis were at least three times more likely to experience Covid-19 complications regardless of age, gender and other conditions of the patients,” the study says.
Periodontitis is mostly caused by poor oral hygiene and lack of maintenance of the dental condition, thus the findings of the study highlight the importance of maintaining a good dental care, and the regular teeth and gum check-ups. Dentists might also play an important role in prevention of the advancement of gum diseases.
The research has been highlighted by 'Nature', one of the most prestigious scientific journals. Moreover, the study was also endorsed by several prestigious scientific organisations such as the American Academy of Periodontology, the International Association for Dental Research and the European Federation of Periodontology among others.
The study spearheaded by Dr Tamimi was shared by several news outlets around the world including some leading TV stations and newspapers such as Fox News, The Times, El Pais, ABC news, and CBC, among others.
This article had also one of the highest altimetric indices in the entire scientific literature. The altimetric index is an index designed to showcase the attention and influence of research and indicates how often journal articles are discussed and used around the world. The altimetric index of this article is probably the highest ever in dentistry and one of the highest in the history of Qatar.