COVID-19 & Periodontitis: The cytokine connection

Med Hypotheses. 2020 Nov;144:109908. doi: 10.1016/j.mehy.2020.109908. Epub 2020 May 30.


COVID-19 is now recognized as a pandemic throughout the world, leading to a scramble in order to gather knowledge as well as evidence regarding the 'novel' corona virus which causes this disease. Chemokines are a family of cytokines which are chemotactic in nature and cause the recruitment of cells of inflammation. Periodontitis has long been attributed to having its pathophysiology rooted in a cytokine response. The recent COVID-19 pandemic has been reported to have adverse outcomes related to the establishment of a cytokine storm, many of the components of which are common with the cytokine expression profile of periodontitis. This communication explores the connection between COVID-19 and periodontal disease through their cytokine connection to form a translational basis for recommending maintenance of oral hygiene in the COVID era and to red flag patients with periodontitis as having an increased risk of exhibiting COVID related adverse outcomes.

Keywords: Dentistry; Immunology.

Publication types

  • Letter

MeSH terms

  • COVID-19 / blood
  • COVID-19 / complications*
  • COVID-19 / immunology
  • Chemokines
  • Comorbidity
  • Cytokines / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Inflammation
  • Models, Theoretical
  • Periodontitis / blood
  • Periodontitis / complications*
  • Periodontitis / virology
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Chemokines
  • Cytokines