As your periodontist in Portland, our team at Portland Periodontics strives to protect the oral health of our patients by preventing and repairing the damage caused by gum disease. While brushing, flossing, and scheduling regular dental appointments rank as the most effective ways of preventing the development of gum disease, new developments and breakthroughs promise to provide patients with additional protection against the disease in the future.
In fact, new research has found that stimulating the action of a specific hormone may prevent inflammation and other effects caused by gum disease that lead to permanent tooth loss, according to a study published in The FASEB Journal.
A research team in Brazil found treatment with melanocortin agonists stopped gum inflammation in mice, suggesting that the hormone could offer a potential treatment method for humans with gum disease.
A bacterial infection that causes swollen, bleeding, and inflamed gum tissue, gum disease can lead to permanent bone loss and has been linked in numerous studies to a variety of chronic illnesses, including heart disease, stroke, diabetes, arthritis, dementia, and cancer.
Based on the result of this most recent study, melanocortin peptides could prevent some of the potential bone loss linked to gum disease, stated researchers at the Federal University of Mina Gerais.
A Potential New Way to Treat Gum Disease
As part of the study, researchers treated mice infected with the bacteria Aggregatibacter actinomycetemcomitans, which causes an aggressive form of gum disease to develop. Researchers then separated the mice into four groups: one that was treated with melanocortin, one group that was infected but not treated, another that was infected and treated with a placebo, and a fourth group that was not infected or treated.
Researchers noted that the mice treated every day for one month with melanocortin had a reduction in gum inflammation and an increased preservation of bone physiology, suggesting to researchers that the hormone could be used to help fight gum disease.
Controlling inflammation is vital when fighting gum disease. Not only does a reduction in inflammation allow for improved healing, it also reduces a patient’s risk of bone loss and tooth loss. Periodontitis, the most severe form of gum disease, is the leading cause of permanent tooth loss among adults in the U.S. The condition is so prevalent among seniors in the U.S. that over 27 percent of adults over the age of 65 have no remaining permanent teeth, according to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research.
For seniors over 65, the average number of remaining permanent teeth is only 18.9. The normal adult month contain 32 teeth, including wisdom teeth.
Protecting Your Oral Health
While many seniors accept permanent tooth loss as part of growing older, there’s no reason why adults should ever lose their teeth if properly cared for during their lifetime. Unfortunately, many Americans simply don’t consider their oral health important enough to provide the adequate protections necessary to prevent gum disease from developing.
If you want to prevent gum disease and enjoy a lifetime of healthy teeth and gums, it’s important that patients schedule regular appointments with their dentist and visit their periodontist in Portland when necessary.
A great looking and healthy smile can last a lifetime, but only if you treat your oral with just as much importance as your overall health. Don’t neglect your oral health now only to regret it later.