A new study warned that infection with the Corona virus can also lead to swelling of the salivary glands in the mouth.
The researchers studied the cases of 122 patients with “Covid-19” in Italy, who were infected with the virus and were hospitalized between July 23 and September 7, 2020.
Follow-up appointments over a period of three months found that more than eight in ten patients had problems with their face or mouth as a result of the infection.
The most common was swelling of the salivary glands, known as ectasia, which affected 43% of patients. The salivary glands secrete spit to aid with chewing and swallowing.
There are three main salivary glands in the mouth: the parotid, submandibular and sublingual glands. These are found in front of the ears, below the jaw, and under the floor of the mouth. The parotid glands are the largest, the submandibular glands are roughly the size of a walnut, and the sublingual glands are the size of an almond.
None of the patients admitted to the University Hospital of Milan reported any oral health disorders.
Doctors evaluated patients for signs of oral symptoms, including weak chewing muscles, ulcers, dry mouth, changes in taste or smell, and abnormal salivary glands.
The study, published in the Journal of Dental Research (RPGWith the exception of a change in taste and smell, swelling of the salivary glands was the most common oral symptom.
The researchers also monitored levels of two chemicals in the blood called C-reactive protein (CRP) and lactate dehydrogenase (LDH).
LDH is a sign of inflammation and is produced in large quantities when the immune system tries to fight COVID-19.
The production of CRP is linked to levels of IL-6, which is one of the main molecules behind the so-called cytokine storm that sees the immune system transforming into a state of fragility and attacking healthy tissues, not just infected cells, in Covid patients.
“LDH and CRP have been suggested as a proxy for the severity of Covid-19,” the researchers wrote.
And patients who developed salivary gland expansion suffered from severe “Covid-19” and were significantly older.
Accordingly, patients with dilated salivary glands, upon admission to hospital, had higher levels of CRP and LDH in the blood.
Scientists believe that the salivary glands, which express the ACE2 receptors that SARS-CoV-2 use to infect human cells, may be a site that the Corona virus uses to invade the body.
This theory, if correct, would explain the common denominators of inflammation and salivary gland enlargement in severe cases.
“Although this disagreement needs official evidence, it fits perfectly with the almost universal involvement of salivary glands that we have observed,” the researchers say.
The study also found that 93% of patients with swollen salivary glands received antibiotics while they were in the hospital, which greatly increased the risk of developing swollen glands.
The next most common symptom is dry mouth, which was seen in 30% of patients. People with diabetes and COPD were more likely to have dry mouth.
“This retrospective and prospective study of Covid-19 survivors revealed that residual damage in the oral cavity continues in the vast majority of the most affected patients beyond clinical recovery,” said Nicholas Jacobovics, Editor-in-Chief of the JDR from the University of Newcastle. It is a preferential target for SARS-CoV-2 infection. Further studies are needed to clarify the relationship between SARS-CoV-2 infection and oral disorders. ”
Source: Daily Mail