Could there be a link between oral hygiene and the severity of SARS-CoV-2 infections?

British dental journal. 2020;228(12):971-975


On 30 January 2020, the World Health Organisation identified COVID-19, caused by the virus SARS-CoV-2, to be a global emergency. The risk factors already identified for developing complications from a COVID-19 infection are age, gender and comorbidities such as diabetes, hypertension, obesity and cardiovascular disease. These risk factors, however, do not account for the other 52% of deaths arising from COVID-19 in often seemingly healthy individuals. This paper investigates the potential link between SARS-CoV-2 and bacterial load, questioning whether bacteria may play a role in bacterial superinfections and complications such as pneumonia, acute respiratory distress syndrome and sepsis. The connection between COVID-19 complications and oral health and periodontal disease is also examined, as the comorbidities at highest risk of COVID-19 complications also cause imbalances in the oral microbiome and increase the risk of periodontal disease. We explore the connection between high bacterial load in the mouth and post-viral complications, and how improving oral health may reduce the risk of complications from COVID-19.

Methodological quality

Publication Type : Journal Article ; Comment