Lansing, Mich. (WLNS) — New research shows a potential link between chronic gum disease and COVID-19 complications.

Experts in California say the data shows oral diseases increase the risk of respiratory ilness.

They point to the harmful inflammatory I-L6 protein as a contributing factor.

When bacteria from the gums travels through the body and spreads the IL-6 protein, it can complicate how a COVID-19 patient responds to treatment.