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Research suggests poor oral health could lead to worse Covid-19 outcomes

EL PASO, Texas (KVIA) -- Poor oral health could lead to worse outcomes among Covid-19 patients.

A study, published in the Journal of the California Dental Association, suggests hospitalized Covid-19 patients with gum disease may be at higher risk for respiratory failure.

The Dean of the Hunt School of Dental Medicine at TTUHSC El Paso said there's a relatively simple explanation.

Dr. Richard Black says the body's response to Covid-19 is inflammation in the lungs and organs.

When the body already has inflammation in their mouth due to poor oral health or gum disease, the inflammation from Covid can become worse. He says severe gum disease can act as an underlying health condition.

"If your gums or oral cavity are not good, if they're inflamed, if they're full of bacteria, if they're not clean, that is going to make any situation that you have, whether it's heart disease, whether it's cancer, whether it's kidney disease, that's going to make that worse," he said.

Growing research suggests gum disease may be associated with other health complications.

"Brush your teeth and floss them twice a day," Dr. Black said. "Clean them, not just brush them. I used to tell my patients, 'Anybody can brush their teeth. You need to learn how to clean the teeth well.' And see your family dentist at least once a year. If you do that, you're going a long way in protecting your own overall health."

Madeline Ottilie

Madeline Ottilie is a reporter on Good Morning El Paso and co-anchors ABC-7 at noon.

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