How sore gums can cause other diseases, incl. severe course of COVID-19

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The question was posed by a Canadian one after a series of studies that found a relationship between poor oral hygiene and a number of other diseases.

New research demonstrates how gum disease and diseases of other organs are linked. The work of Canadian scientists published at The Journal of Dental Research… They speculate that the problem is an overreaction of the immune system.

Previously, in various studies, scientists have linked inflammatory gum disease (periodontitis, gingivitis) with the risk of developing diabetes mellitus, cardiovascular disease, rheumatoid arthritis and some others. One could only guess about the reasons and mechanisms of this connection. In a new study, authors from the University of Toronto have proposed one possible mechanism behind this phenomenon.

Leukocytes at second speed

Scientists have focused on studying the activity of neutrophils (neutrophilic white blood cells). These cells of the immune system appear in large numbers during inflammation. In response to gum disease, the human body also produces neutrophils.

First, scientists conducted experiments on mice that had sore gums. They found that this inflammation causes an increase in the number of neutrophils not only in the gums. These immune cells have been found in high numbers in the blood and bone marrow.

Leukocytes, which scientists found outside the gums, were in an activated state – they were ready to quickly respond to various stimuli.

“We can say that the leukocytes were at” second speed “, although they should have been at” first speed “”, – led metaphorical comparison study co-author Michael Glogauer. He added that such neutrophils are much more likely to produce cytokines (inflammatory mediators), which can lead to various negative consequences.

Brushing your teeth should reduce risks

Scientists have tested their findings in a small human study. The volunteers agreed not to brush their teeth for three weeks to show signs of gum disease.

After three weeks, the study participants found increased neutrophil activity. She disappeared two weeks after people started brushing their teeth again.

The authors of the study suggest that the mechanism they described is a link between gum disease and many other diseases. “Cocked” neutrophils can provoke diseases in the body that, at first glance, have nothing to do with teeth and gums.

COVID-19 and gums

Scientists speculate that their discovery may explain the results of a recent study in which poor oral hygiene tied up with a severe course of COVID-19. It is known that in especially difficult cases of a new coronavirus infection, a cytokine storm develops – an overreaction of the immune system to the virus. It is possible that abnormal neutrophil activity in gum disease increases the risk of this complication.

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