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BRASILIA, Brazil: From the start of the pandemic, the oral cavity has been highlighted as a potentially relevant infection axis with further inflammatory response in surrounding tissues. This has resulted in heightened international interest in investigating the issue. A current study confirms the previous findings, namely that xerostomia, taste dysfunction and oral mucosal lesions currently manifest most commonly in patients with COVID-19.
At the beginning of the year, Dental Tribune International reported on scientists in Iran and Spain finding that COVID-19 patients develop a range of oral manifestations, including xerostomia, dysgeusia, candidiasis and geographic tongue. Researchers have, therefore, urged dentists to remain alert to symptoms in the oral cavity. Experts from several universities in Brazil have been investigating the issue for a while now, and they recently published a six-month update that explained how oral signs and symptoms in patients with COVID-19 have prevailed over time.
Amorim dos Santos and team resynthesized qualitative data by grouping and comparing information reported in the 40 studies of the initial article and in 143 newly included studies. Oral mucosal conditions were summarized in schematic representations, and all meta-analyses for taste disorders were reperformed to include the new data. Overall, the review of 183 studies in total concluded that xerostomia (43% prevalence), taste disorders (38% prevalence) and oral mucosal lesions (20% prevalence) are common signs and symptoms in patients with COVID-19, regardless of their direct or indirect infectious nature.
The authors noted that, although the clinical aspects of oral lesions presented in case reports and case series suggest coinfections and immunity impairment, this outcome showed moderate certainty of evidence. They further pointed out that these outcomes are under discussion, and more studies will be necessary to confirm their association with direct SARS-CoV-2 infection in the oral cavity.
The study, titled “Oral manifestations in patients with COVID-19: A 6-month update,” was published online on July 29, 2021, in the Journal of Dental Research, ahead of inclusion in an issue. It is a follow-up to the study, titled “Oral manifestations in patients with COVID-19: A living systematic review,” which was published in the February 2021 issue of the Journal of Dental Research.