People with Gum Disease Are More Likely to Die of COVID-19?

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Playing Ask an Expert: Why Patients with Gum Disease are More Likely to Die of COVID

The Doctors are joined by dentist Dr. Kami Hoss who shares why oral health is so important -- especially when it comes to COVID-19.

Dr. Hoss explains the findings of a recent study that suggests patients with gum disease are 9 times more likely to die from the virus. Additionally, the study found those with gum disease were 3 times more likely to be admitted to the ICU, and also 4 and half times more likely to require a ventilator.

The dentist also notes the CDC found that 70 percent of people age 65 and older suffer from gum disease -- making this issue particularly concerning for an already-vulnerable population. 

"Your mouth is the gateway to your body," the dentist tells The Doctors. "In many ways, it determines the health of the entire ecosystem [of your body]... poor oral health impacts our overall health from pregnancy to many systematic health issues and even longevity."

Signs of gum disease may include bleeding and swollen gums, which can lead to an infection. Dr. Hoss explains this infection could affect a patient's lungs, possibly travel to the bloodstream, or cause inflammation in the body, which the study found to likely be the cause of the higher COVID complication rates.

To improve your oral health, Dr. Hoss urges:

- To see your dentist for your regular appointments

- Brush and floss regularly

- Watch what you eat and drink and how frequently because after eating and drinking saliva pH drops and becomes more acidic, which can lead to more cavities and possibly gum disease

Get more tips on oral health and the surprising link between gum disease and COVID-19 here.

More: Vaccinated Parents, but Kids Are Not - What to Consider

More: New Lingering COVID Complication - Ringing Ears

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