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[PEARLY WHITES?] Dentures likely coated with more bacteria after COVID-19 infection

Swabs from dentures of patients with COVID-19 compared to sex- and age-matched individuals who were not infected revealed that dentures of infected people had higher rates of colonization with other worrisome bacteria.

This means that denture wearers infected with the coronavirus may be more likely to harbor bacteria that increase their risk for infections on top of COVID-19.

Therefore, the authors suggest that dental prostheses of COVID-19 patients be tested for bacteria such as Streptococcus species (found in 93.3% of patients versus 40% of controls) and Klebsiella pneumonia bacteria (found in 46.7% of COVID-19 patients versus 13.4% of controls), and that patients be treated accordingly. It’s not clear from the study how long such infections will manifest on dentures, but frequent monitoring and testing makes sense, when feasible.

In hospitalized COVID-19 patients, these organisms could lead to or worsen problems such as respiratory distress syndrome or pneumonia, the study authors note. Further, bacterial colonization may accelerate the degradation of the dentures, and may be associated with damage to dental or oral tissue.

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