Bleeding, swollen gums linked to severe COVID-19 cases

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Seattle Pi:

If you don’t floss regularly, this might persuade you to change your behavior.

Patients with gum disease are more likely to experience severe, potentially life-threatening complications if they contract COVID-19 and need to be hospitalized, according to a new report published online in the Journal of the California Dental Association.

Chronic gum disease, or periodontitis, is characterized by swollen, bleeding gums and bone loss. It produces a bacteria that releases a harmful protein known as IL-6 (interleukin-6). IL-6 is an inflammatory cytokine that can trigger the out-of-control reaction of the immune system known as a cytokine storm.

The report referenced the findings of a German study of 40 hospitalized COVID-19 patients published in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology in May. It concluded that patients with elevated IL-6 levels were 22 times more likely to suffer respiratory failure and require mechanical ventilation.


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