Study Finds Poor Oral Health May Impact COVID-19 Severity, Specifically for Cardiac Patients

The objective of the study was to prove that increased COVID-19 severity may be linked to poor oral health status, especially in patients with cardiovascular diseases.

A new sub-study examining Egyptian cardiac patients found that a potential correlation between poor oral health and COVID-19 severity, in addition to a correlation between oral health and delayed recovery, demonstrates a need to consider oral health as an additional risk factor for these patients, according to the American College of Cardiology.

Previous trials have linked poor oral hygiene with increased inflammation and cardiovascular disease, according to the researchers of the current study, who noted that COVID-19 severity has also been linked to an inflammatory response. The objective of the study was to prove that increased COVID-19 severity may be linked to poor oral health status, especially in patients with cardiovascular diseases. The study assessed oral health status, severity of COVID-19 symptoms, C-reactive protein levels, and duration of recovery.

"Oral tissues could act as a reservoir for SARS-CoV-2, developing a high viral load in the oral cavity. Therefore, we recommended maintenance of oral health and improving oral hygiene measures, especially during COVID-19 infection," said lead study author Ahmed Mustafa Basuoni, MD, cardiology consultant at Cairo University, in a press release. "Simple measures like practicing proper oral hygiene, raising awareness of oral health importance either in relation to COVID-19 infection or systemic diseases by using media and community medicine, regular dental visits, especially in patients with CVD, and using [antimicrobial] mouthwashes [could help in] preventing or decreasing the severity of COVID-19 disease."

The study looked at 86 Egyptian heart disease patients with a confirmed COVID-19 PCR test and used a questionnaire to assess oral health and COVID-19 severity. An oral health score was then used to determine the effect of oral health on COVID-19, and the data on CRP levels and COVID-19 PCR tests were collected via the questionnaire and confirmed via medical records.

The correlation between oral health and COVID-19 severity showed a significant inverse relationship in addition to a connection between oral health with recovery period and CRP values, according to the study authors. Additionally, poor oral health was correlated to increased values of CRP and delayed recovery, specifically in patients with cardiac diseases, according to the study authors.

"Oral health should be a part of routine history taking and examination in cardiac patients," Basuoni said in the release. "Lifestyle measures should be instructed to all cardiac patients regarding good oral hygiene with regular dental visits. We need to give more space in research for these risk factors which can be easily modified."

REFERENCE

Poor oral health may impact COVID-19 severity, especially for cardiac patients. American College of Cardiology. October 7, 2021. Accessed October 7, 2021. https://www.acc.org/about-acc/press-releases/2021/10/07/12/57/poor-oral-health-may-impact-covid-19-severity-especially-for-cardiac-patients