The ongoing coronavirus disease pandemic was first identified in late 2019 and its ongoing impact on nearly all aspects of our lives, including the delivery of dental care. One of the perplexing aspects of the current pandemic has been the heterogeneity of COVID‑19 disease presentation and the influences of host factors and comorbidities on COVID‑19 disease presentation. The current course will review characteristics of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus‑2 (SARS‑CoV‑2)—the causative virus for COVID‑19, the immunologic and genetic influences on COVID‑19 disease severity, the implications of the COVID‑19-induced cytokine storm, and the pathophysiological mechanisms associated with viral infection. This course will further help dental healthcare professionals critically assess systemic risk factors that may influence COVID‑19 severity and will summarize currently available and developing potential treatments and vaccines, including the concept of herd immunity. Finally, this course will explore the published scientific data identifying a potential connection between COVID‑19 and periodontal diseases and the underlying mechanisms that are in-common to both diseases—the roles of pro-inflammatory cytokines in their pathophysiology and leverage that knowledge to promote the importance of the establishment and maintenance of oral health and hygiene in the COVID‑19 era.
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