The mouth – the first barrier to the immune system
A new UK study shows that people with swollen or bleeding gums are up to 70 percent more likely to die from COVID-19 infection. This shows how important a healthy oral cavity is in fighting the virus.
The coronavirus is known to enter the body primarily through receptors in the mouth and throat. Therefore, a strong immune defense in the oral cavity and a healthy oral mucosa are the first hurdles for the viruses. If these are weakened or if periodontal degeneration processes take place unnoticed, additional bacterial infections pose a high risk of developing pneumonia or even dying of sepsis. Often a poorly maintained oral cavity is the source of such infections. A study with almost 100,000 people over a period of 12 years has shown the close connection between dental hygiene and pneumonia. Periodontal treatment reduced the risk of developing pneumonia by 31 percent; intensified therapy even by up to 66 percent. Patients with diabetes even had a 78 percent increased risk of developing pneumonia. Oral hygiene is important to protect against coronavirus. The oral immune barrier is more important than ever. The number of corona infections is increasing, the vaccination centres are only slowly picking up speed and to make matters worse, the dreaded virus mutation B.1.1.7 is spreading across Europe. This variant of the virus is 50 to 70 percent more infectious than the previous virus and could soon push our health system to its limits. In addition to the usual social distancing rules and contact restrictions, the Oral Health Foundation sees the oral immune barrier as one of the most important building blocks in protecting against the virus. Patients should not postpone their appointments for routine examinations and check-ups and have a thorough oral hygiene regime.