Local dentist warns of association between periodontal problems and severe consequences of Covid-19 |11 March 2021
In a recent discussion with a local dentist about oral healthcare during a pandemic, Seychelles NATION learned that findings from a recent study indicate that people with periodontal problems and who contract the Covid-19 virus, are at a higher risk of facing severe complications.
In the following interview, Stefano Rosso, owner and director of ITALDENT dental clinic, shares with us his knowledge and understanding of the study, and shares his advice to the local population.
Seychelles NATION: Can you explain to us what this study was about and about its findings? Why is it that patients with periodontal problems have a higher risk for severe complications if they contract the Covid-19 virus?
Stefano Rosso: A very recent study published in the Journal of Clinical Periodontology (you can find this source online) shows that people who contract the Covid-19 virus and who also have periodontal problems, run a higher risk of dying from the virus, of needing assisted ventilation, of having to resort to intensive care.
This is because when you have an infection and, in this specific case, in the mouth like a periodontal disease or an apical abscess, your immune system is already stressed out and so cannot respond in the correct manner. There is a higher probability therefore, that the immune system will respond more aggressively to the Covid-19 virus, which in turn can lead to complications such as pneumonia, with the patient requiring hospitalisation.
Many diseases negatively affect Covid-19, its symptoms and outcomes. It is found that the consequences of Covid-19 are aggravated if the infected patient also has periodontal problems. In short, those who contract the new coronavirus run more risks if they suffer from periodontal disease.
Bleeding and inflammation of the gums are the most common symptoms of what is one of the most widespread diseases worldwide. It is very important to focus attention on this discovery and to emphasise how essential early diagnosis and treatment of the disorder are.
The research is entitled ‘Association between periodontitis and severity of Covid-19 infection: a case-control study’, and in fact investigates the correlation between the severity of the consequences of the virus and periodontitis.
This study analysed the disease outcomes on a sample of 568 patients. The results showed that those with very inflamed gums and who contract Covid-19 infection have an 8.8 times higher chance of dying than those with a healthy mouth.
The other risks concern assisted ventilation where the probability is 4.6 times higher, and intensive care. People with pyorrhea (a synonym for periodontitis in common parlance) are 3.5 times more likely to need intensive care.
The results of the study were also disseminated by Italian scientific societies such as the SIdP (Italian Society of Periodontology and Implantology).
There is no relationship between periodontitis and increased chances of contracting Covid-19. Patients with periodontal problems run the same risks as everyone else of being infected with the new coronavirus. Likewise, they don't become more contagious patients.
Oral hygiene and professional cleaning capable of controlling the degeneration of periodontitis, become fundamental together with an early diagnosis of this disease, which is also widespread among young people.
Seychelles NATION: Based on these findings, what is your advice for the local population, considering that because of Covid-19, people might be reluctant to visit their doctors and dentists at this time?
Stefano Rosso: It seems clear that if periodontitis and bleeding gums can increase the risk of serious consequences in the case of Covid-19, the solution is not to neglect the health of the mouth and gums in particular.
To avoid infection with SARS CoV-2, safety protocols must be respected, but periodontitis and oral hygiene must be prevented and treated in the best possible way to avoid the risk of serious consequences. Just in the same way that diabetes, obesity and other comorbidities that worsen the outcomes of this virus and compromise health in general, must be kept under control.
Professional teeth cleaning sessions must also be done in lockdown situations if permitted by law because only in this way is it possible to eliminate sub-gingival tartar, and keep the progress of the disease under control. It is also very important to treat any infections at the apex of the tooth root and any abscesses, as they can interfere with the immune system. Dentist appointments should never be skipped, ever.
It is important not to forget that teeth cleaning is also essential for those who are sick and cannot take care of oral hygiene themselves.
Patients are advised to strictly follow their own oral and personal hygiene, and to go to their dentists, because the clinics are safe and the most scrupulous sanitation and hygiene measures are followed.
For example, the dentist and the assistants disinfect all work surfaces between patients, and they use instruments specifically sterilized for each patient. In addition, appointments to patients are given at different times to ensure that social distancing is respected.
For further information, contact ITALDENT:
- Address: Sunshine House, Providence, Mahé
- Telephone: 4 373 588 or 2 559 663
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org