Sunday, January 20, 2013

Gingivitis Bacteria Getting Smarter

The Journal of Leukocyte Biology recently reported that chronic gum disease (i.e. gingivitis) is caused by 'smart' bacteria that manipulates your body's natural immune system so as to disable the normal antibacterial processes that would otherwise destroy it.

"Since greater than 50 percent of the U.S. population over 50 years-of-age develop adult periodontal disease, we hope that the results of our study will ultimately help in the development of novel treatments that could prevent or ameliorate the chronic infection caused by the pathogen Porphyromonas Gingivalis," said Jannet Katz, D.D.S., Ph.D., a researcher at the Department of Pediatric Dentistry at the University of Alabama who's involved the in research.

The Early Bacteria Gets The Worm

The report's findings showed that the porphyromonas gingivalis occurs when the immune cells of the body are first exposed to this pathogen, implying that for treatment to be successful, it must be started as early as possible, either by eradication of the bacterium via specifically designed therapeutics or by prevention through developing an effective vaccine.

"Gum diseases and the infections that cause them can be incredibly stubborn and difficult to treat," said John Wherry, Ph.D., Deputy Editor of the Journal of Leukocyte Biology. "What isn't as well known is why these infections are so difficult to eradicate. These new studies now demonstrate that these bacteria go beyond merely evading our body's defenses and actually manipulate our immune systems for their own survival."

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