We know that gum disease can cause damage to your body in a multitude of ways. Not only does this disease affect the teeth and jaw, but it also affects your brain as well as your heart. Gum disease affects the jaw by weakening the bone that supports the teeth.
Although we have many treatments to slow or stop the loss of bone, they aren’t as successful as we would like, which is why gum disease is the leading cause of tooth loss among adults. Teeth lost to gum disease have to be replaced with dental implants or other techniques.
But researchers at the University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine have made a new discovery on the nature of bone loss due to periodontitis which may open the door up for a new form of treatment in the future.
When your body is fighting off an infection, T-cells are deployed to help fight it by causing the infected area to become inflamed. Once the infection has passed, the inflammation should recede, but this is sometimes not the case. If the inflammation does not go down then the body will have a harder time building back any bone that was broken down by the osteoclasts. This is what leads to bone damage in gum disease.
The researchers have made a new breakthrough in regards to a protein called Del-1. This protein is important because it helps curb the activity of the osteoclasts without completely inhibiting them from working. In addition to this, Del-1 also acts as an anti-inflammatory agent, which means that it makes sure T-cells are working properly and reduces swelling once the infection has passed.
It is important to note that researchers are still looking at means of application for human subjects. This unfortunately means that we will not be seeing Del-1 administered to the masses any time soon. The good news is that there are ways to combat gum disease now, the most important of which is to contact your dentist and work out a plan of action to get you on the right track to good dental health. If you have any questions or would like to schedule an appointment, please call (310) 275-5325 for an appointment at Nicolas A. Ravon, DDS, MSD.