Since the worldwide spread of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection, management of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has been challenging for healthcare providers. The oral cavity is referred to as a target of SARS-CoV-2. The aim of this study was to review oral symptoms specific to COVID-19 patients from the point of view of symptom prevalence and pathogenesis and to speculate the pathogenic mechanisms underlying them. Scientific articles were retrieved by searching PubMed/MEDLINE, Google Scholar, medRxiv, and bioRxiv from 3 February 2020 to 31 December 2020, and they were reviewed by title, abstract, and text for relevance. The literature search indicated that COVID-19 patients frequently present with gustatory dysfunction, xerostomia, and oral mucosal lesions, while their prevalence is likely to vary by country, age, gender, and disease severity. Gustatory dysfunction and xerostomia appear at an early stage of SARS-CoV-2 infection and last relatively long. One of possible pathogenic mechanisms of both symptoms is attributed to the expression of viral cellular entry-relevant receptors in taste cells and salivary glands. Dental professionals who can first become aware of oral symptoms associated with COVID-19 will play a more active role in and make a greater contribution to diagnosis and prevention of COVID-19.
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