Bacteria Threatens More Than Just Gums

It’s no secret that when bacterium enters the mouth gum disease is a potential result. Periodontitis has affected thousands of individuals for many years, pointing to the damaging effects of this gum disease for overall health. From receding gums to bad breath to pus forming between gums and teeth, dentists often warn their patients of the variety of consequences that come from bacteria in the mouth. While dental professionals have been aware of the threat of gum disease related to bacterium, new research has pointed to the potential of bone-destroying cells to form in the mouth.

According to a new study released by the University of Michigan, bacterium may cause Nod1, the oral cavity’s protective protein, to turn into harmful, bone-destroying cells. Typically, the Nod1 serves as a protector for the mouth, fighting off dangerous bacterium in the body. The actual bacterium that causes periodontitis is referred to as NI1060 and this bacterium can lead to seriously damaging effects in the mouth. As scientists continue to research these harmful effects, it will be interesting to see where a happy medium between helpful bacterium and harmful bacterium is met.

Noahiro Inohara gives a brief overview of their findings stating, “Nod1 is a part of our protective mechanisms against bacterial infection. It helps us to fight infection by recruiting neutrophils, blood cells that act as bacterial killers. It also removes harmful bacteria during infection. However, in the case of periodontitis, accumulation of NI1060 stimulates Nod1 to trigger neutrophils and osteoclasts, which are cells that destroy bone in the oral cavity.”

These findings point to the potential of creating personalized therapy for specific dental patients dependent upon the gum disease at their molecular level. At-risk patients, for example, must be dealt with carefully as dentists determine the amount of harmful versus beneficial bacterium in the mouth. As more and more research is conducted, dental professionals hope to establish a more defined plan of action of handling gum disease and the potential damage that it can cause to bones in the oral cavity.

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