(HealthDay News) Oral health may be an additional risk factor for severe COVID-19 in cardiac patients, according to a study presented at ACC Middle East 2021, a hybrid meeting held Oct. 14 to 15 in partnership by the American College of Cardiology (ACC), Egyptian Society of Cardiology, and the ACC Egypt Chapter.

Ahmed Mustafa Basuoni, M.D., from Cairo University in Egypt, and colleagues surveyed 308 Egyptian patients with confirmed positive polymerase chain reaction tests for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) to assess links between COVID-19 severity and oral health. A subgroup analysis was performed separately for an additional group of 86 patients with cardiovascular disease who met exclusion criteria for the study.

The researchers found a significant inverse correlation (P < 0.001; r = −0.512) between oral health and COVID-19 severity. Poor oral health also correlated with increased values of C-reactive protein (P < 0.001) and a delayed recovery period (P < 0.001), especially in patients with cardiac diseases.

“Oral tissues could act as a reservoir for SARS-CoV-2, developing a high viral load in the oral cavity,” Basuoni said in a statement. “Therefore, we recommended maintenance of oral health and improving oral hygiene measures, especially during COVID-19 infection.”

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