While you may not hear as much about gum disease as you do other maladies, it still remains one of the most widespread chronic infections among the human population. In the United States alone, nearly 75% of adults have gum disease of varying degrees, and the illness is the number one cause of adult tooth loss in America, as well. Our failure to completely defeat or control gum disease, however, is not for lack of trying. Scientists around the world are researching ways to get a leg up on the destructive disease, especially in light of compounding evidence that our oral health my influence our physical wellbeing. At the University of Louisiana, School of Dentistry, researcher David Scott, PhD, has taken an innovative approach to the dilemma that has some experts rethinking our strategy of gum disease prevention and treatment. Sheridan dentist, Dr. Coon, explains how we may be able to prevent the destruction of gum disease by interrupting cellular communication.
The Traditional Fight Against Gum Disease
As destructive as unchecked gum disease can be, it begins in a relatively simple manner; the accumulation of bacteria along your gum line. Excessive plaque buildup can irritate the gums until the tissue pulls away from your teeth, creating small pockets for bacteria to collect. The progression and destruction of gum disease, however, is a result of the inflammation that is characteristic of the oral health issue. Scientists point to one oral bacterium in particular, Porphyromonas gingivalis, as the main culprit behind this destruction, as this germ’s presence is known to incite your immune system’s inflammatory response. Traditionally, gum disease research has focused on preventing the bacterial buildup that begins the process. Dr. Scott and his team, however, had a different idea.
A Proactive Solution to Destructive Gum Disease
During their research, Dr. Scott and his team focused instead on the mechanisms that result in the inflammation that damages your oral tissue. Their studies led them to experiment on a certain enzyme that plays a major role in your body’s immune response. By creating an inhibitor that specifically targeted this enzyme, the team was able to successfully block it from it s normal function, preventing the inflammation and subsequent bone loss induced by the pathogens that cause gum disease. More testing is needed to ensure the safety of the treatment, but there is no question that the face of oral health care may be changed forever.
Until then, if you wish to know more about proper oral health care and gum disease prevention, schedule a consultation at Grinnell Street Dental by contacting our Sheridan dentist office at (307) 672-7567. We welcome patients from Sheridan, WY and the surrounding communities.