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A team of scientists and clinicians led by U of T’s Faculty of Dentistry have found that neutrophil immune cell activity is the mechanism that links periodontal disease with heart disease, cancer, and other inflammatory conditions – possibly including COVID-19.

Neutrophil – cells of the innate immune system – are released in abundance to fight bacterial infections responsible for gum disease. The overabundance of cells causes the immune system to become hyper-vigilant and responds with an excess force to any secondary infection. The body becomes susceptible to damage from secondary inflammatory conditions and causes the immune cells to destroy affected tissues and organs. 

More evidence has also shown the connection between oral health and COVID-19. According to a letter published in Oral Diseases, oral infections such as tongue ulcers, mouth rash and lip necrosis have been associated with COVID-19, showing that the mouth may be a main source of infection and transmission. 

Oral lesions are early signs of COVID-19 and may trigger the late onset of secondary ulcers in COVID-19 patients suggesting that mouths should be monitored closely during and after the infection.

With the growing connection between oral health and COVID-19, it’s never been more important to maintain your oral health. 

For more information, read here