Do you have gum disease in any stage of development? How about your family members, are they also being afflicted with this malady? When did it start? How did it begin? How can you protect yourself and your family from this insidious oral problem and the ultimate serious health complications that can accompany it? I have asked myself these questions, and apparently, much of the dental research community is also asking the questions — and, they are getting some answers! Follow along with me while I briefly discuss an interesting article that I read on the topic of preventing gum disease before it starts.
How Does Gum Disease Start?
The best explanation that I have found of this phenomena is basically this: our mouths contain all sorts of bacteria, some good and some bad. When the balance of that bacteria gets off kilter, the body responds to the imbalance with an inflammatory response. When inflammation increases, the process of gum disease which leads to bone loss is the result. Of course, this process doesn’t happen overnight but, rather, can take years to develop in the secret places of your mouth — under the gum line. Only regular dental checkups can identify and monitor the condition of the tissue below the gum line and the overall general health of your mouth. Did you know that nearly half of American adults are afflicted with this condition? Did you know that it can lead to serious systemic illnesses like heart disease and diabetes?
With some collaboration from researchers from the School of Dental Medicine and the Perelman School of Medicine, there may be some promising treatment down the road that could result in preventing or even reversing periodontitis. They are studying a molecule that is part of our own immune system’s arsenal called complement. Previous research showed them that Porphyromonas gingivalis is a bacterium that is responsible for many cases of periodontitis. It seems to play a game of subterfuge in the body, meaning that it has some sneaky ways to trick and hide from the immune system’s arsenal to avoid being killed. And, yet, paradoxically, it actually seems to feed off the inflammation that the immune system uses in its response to bacterial imbalance! Through their current research and that of others, they have found a drug that is already in development to treat other diseases called Cp40 is helping. This drug seems to be able to reduce inflammation and significantly prevent the bone loss that accompanies it. It is effectively protecting the monkeys that are being used in the project.
While it is felt this drug has the potential and offers promising treatment options for treating adults with periodontitis, it is not currently available for use. It is an option that will likely surface down the road, but in the meantime, remember my previous statement that only regular dental checkups can identify and monitor the condition of your gums and other oral tissue. It is vital for your current and future health to maintain regular dental checkups with your Periodontist on Long Island. Call Dr. Scharf at (631)661-6633 or pay him a visit at http://drscharf.com and let him tell you how he can treat gum disease with a laser rather than a scalpel.