Gum Disease Linked to the Immune System

Have you been told by your dentist that you have signs of gum disease? Periodontal (gum) disease affects nearly 80% of people in the United States. Early symptoms include mild things such as puffy gums or scant bleeding when brushing and flossing. As the condition becomes increasingly severe, side effects become more major such as periodontal pockets, loose teeth, and eventual tooth loss. Porphyromonas gingivalis (P. gingivalis) are the bacteria in our oral cavities which cause gum disease. Dr. Hofkes in Cerritos, CA will explain a research study which connects gum disease to the body’s overall immune system in what dentists term the oral-systemic condition.

Bacteria which Cause Gum Disease

Details of a research study performed at the Department of Pediatric Dentistry at the University of Alabama in Birmingham was published in the Journal of Leukocyte Biology. Scientists zeroed in on P. gingivalis. These particular germs can manipulate your immune system so that the processes which would normally destroy the bacteria are actually disabled. An inhibition of T-cell function means that the normal protection your body provides against microbial infection is disabled by the bacteria themselves.

Prevention and Early Intervention for Periodontal Infections

The scientists procured cells from laboratory mice which were introduced to P. gingivalis. Half of these rodent cells were exposed to an inhibiting antibody. The other half was observed untouched. The cells were next tested for something called interferon gamma production. The cells which were treated showed an increase in interferon gamma production. However, the untreated cells remained unchanged. These findings help scientists better understand the development of chronic infection in the form of periodontal infections. This knowledge may help battle gum disease more efficiently in the future. Results of the research specifically highlighted the importance of prevention and early intervention such as periodontal disease vaccinations and periodontal therapies.

About Shawn Hofkes, DDS

As a trained professional in oral and maxillofacial surgery, Shawn Hofkes, DDS is certified to provide comfortable, safe dental surgery from our state-of-the-art dentist office in Cerritos, CA. Schedule an appointment for dry socket or tooth extraction treatment by calling: 562-584-4082 today!