Gum Disease Study Highlights Potential Vaccine

Science ExperimentPeriodontal disease has become all too common in the United States. Symptoms are sometimes too subtle to catch when gum disease is at the earliest stage (gingivitis). If you notice bleeding or puffy gums when you brush and floss, you may be starting to show signs of periodontal infection. Don’t ignore any gum tissue symptoms, as periodontal pockets, loose teeth, and eventual tooth loss are a part of periodontitis (severe gum disease). The bacteria that cause periodontal disease are called Porphyromonas gingivalis (P. gingivalis).  Farmington Hills dentist, Dr. Aziza Askari, is interested in a study that connects gum disease to the body’s overall immune system.

Gum Disease Germs

The Department of Pediatric Dentistry at the University of Alabama in Birmingham published research data in the Journal of Leukocyte Biology. Their study focused on P. gingivalis. the germs that cause periodontal infection. The scientists were paying close attention to the way that these germs manipulate your immune system. This makes it so that natural reactions that are designed to destroy bacteria are disabled. T-cell function becomes inhibited, which is unfortunate. T-cells are normally a protective device in humans, but these crafty germs have found a way to dupe them.

Prevention and Treatment

The research involved lab rodents which were introduced to P. gingivalis germs. Half of the T-cells were exposed to an inhibiting antibody. The other half were left to their own devices. The scientists ran tests for interferon gamma production. Treated showed increased interferon gamma production. Predictably, the control cells remained the same. These results can help battle periodontal disease more efficiently if the antibodies are harnessed for safe human exposure. Of particular interest to the researchers is how this information can be used to develop future vaccines and periodontal therapies that will focus on prevention and/or a cure for existing periodontal disease, which as of now is only treatable.

Dental Checkups from Farmington Hills Dentist

If you have questions, discuss them with your Farmington Hills dentist at your next checkup and cleaning. Call your Farmington Hills dentist at (248) 474-6434 to schedule an appointment with 48335 dentist office today. We serve patients from Dearborn, Novi, Livonia, Farmington Hills, and the surrounding Detroit neighborhoods.