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Study: Gum disease can cause serious COVID-19 complications

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Posted at 9:32 PM, Mar 06, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-07 15:43:05-05

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — A study shows that gum disease may be linked to serious COVID-19 cases.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, just over 47% of adults that are at least 30-years-old in the U.S. have some form of gum disease.

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“A lot of people don’t even realize that they have it,” says Dr. Amy Tongsiri, Liberty Dental Plan.

The study by the Journal of Clinical Periodontology suggests that COVID-19 patients with gum disease were nine times more likely to die.

“When you have other diseases like COVID going on, that can be a segue into attacking our bodies a little more harshly,” says Dr. Tongsiri.

The study also found that COVID-19 patients with gum disease were 4.5 times more likely to need a ventilator, and 3.5 times more likely to be placed in the ICU.

Doctor Tongsiri says you can check for the warning signs right now.

“Anytime that you’re flossing and getting a little bit of bleeding, that’s usually a sign of some type of inflammation in your gums,” says Dr. Tongsiri.

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Gum disease is treatable, but Dr. Tongsiri says it's something your dentist will want to monitor.

“Sometimes people will do six-month cleanings, but sometimes we'll recommend every three months just to make sure we're keeping you on track,” says Dr. Tongsiri.

Some free dental resources are available in Nevada including virtual visits with a dentist and a dental prevention clinic at UNLV.