A multi-country study on the impact of sex and age on oral features of COVID-19 infection in adolescents and young adults

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Sabbagh H. J., Abdelaziz W., Quritum M., Alamoudi R. A., AlKhateeb N. A. B., Abourdan J., ...More

BMC Oral Health, vol.22, no.1, 2022 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 22 Issue: 1
  • Publication Date: 2022
  • Doi Number: 10.1186/s12903-022-02515-5
  • Journal Name: BMC Oral Health
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus, CAB Abstracts, CINAHL, EMBASE, MEDLINE, Directory of Open Access Journals
  • Keywords: COVID-19 infection, Multi-country, Oral conditions, Adolescents
  • Istanbul Medipol University Affiliated: Yes


Background: Oral diseases are features of COVID-19 infection. There is, however, little known about oral diseases associated with COVID-19 in adolescents and young adults (AYA). Therefore, the aim of this study was to assess oral lesions’ association with COVID-19 infection in AYA; and to identify if sex and age will modify these associations. Methodology: Data was collected for this cross-sectional study between August 2020 and January 2021 from 11-to-23 years old participants in 43-countries using an electronic validated questionnaire developed in five languages. Data collected included information on the dependent variables (the presence of oral conditions- gingival inflammation, dry mouth, change in taste and oral ulcers), independent variable (COVID-19 infection) and confounders (age, sex, history of medical problems and parents’ educational level). Multilevel binary logistic regression was used for analysis. Results: Complete data were available for 7164 AYA, with 7.5% reporting a history of COVID-19 infection. A significantly higher percentage of participants with a history of COVID-19 infection than those without COVID-19 infection reported having dry mouth (10.6% vs 7.3%, AOR = 1.31) and taste changes (11.1% vs 2.7%, AOR = 4.11). There was a significant effect modification in the association between COVID-19 infection and the presence of dry mouth and change in taste by age and sex (P = 0.02 and < 0.001). Conclusion: COVID-19 infection was associated with dry mouth and change in taste among AYA and the strength of this association differed by age and sex. These oral conditions may help serve as an index for suspicion of COVID-19 infection in AYA.