For years we have known that bacteria in the mouth causes gum disease or periodontitis. However, the specific bacterium was not identified until recently. Recently, this bacterium was identified as NI1060. A new study conducted by researchers at the University of Michigan and published in the journal Cell Host and Microbe, reports that NI1060 not only causes gum disease but also destroys bone in the jaw. This bacterium triggers normally protective proteins in the mouth to actually destroy more bone. This has important implications for patients with periodontal disease as bone loss can lead to other serious dental health issues and greatly limit their options for tooth replacement. Researchers are hoping that understanding what causes periodontitis at the molecular level will help dental professionals to develop personalized therapy for their dental patients.
Currently there are a number of available treatments for periodontal disease ranging from anti-microbial rinses and medications to deep cleaning (scaling and root planing) to oral surgery. Since gum disease can vary widely in severity from case to case, the treatment plans also vary widely. If you have periodontal disease, your treatment plan will depend upon the cause and the severity of the infection.
If you have gums that are red, swollen and/or bleed easily, this could be a sign of periodontal disease. You should seek treatment from a qualified dentist as soon as possible to avoid serious dental health issues including tooth loss. Women who are pregnant or Menopausal are more at risk for developing periodontal disease due to hormonal changes in the body. Smokers are also more at risk. The best way to prevent periodontal disease is to practice good oral hygiene at home and to visit your dentist regularly for routine cleanings and examinations.
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