In the United States, over 75% of adults exhibit symptoms of gum disease. Literally millions of Americans suffer from the affects of periodontal disease. Recently, researchers discovered a new clue as to why this disorder is so widespread. In today’s blog, your Lake Forest dentist, Dr. James Fondriest, explains how the bacteria that cause gum disease can actually fool your immune system.
Symptoms and Causes of Gum Disease
In the early stages of gum disease, patients report sore, red gums that bleed easily during brushing or flossing. If left untreated, gum disease can eventually lead to tooth loss. Periodontal disease occurs when the bacteria in your mouth break down food particles, causing plaque buildup. Plaque irritates the gums, leading to inflammation. Over time, the inflammation causes the gums to pull away from the teeth, forming pockets at the gum line. Once the bacteria infest these pockets, infection begins. To combat gum disease, attend regular checkups and cleanings with your general dentist, Dr. Fondriest. In addition, always maintain good dental habits such as brushing and flossing. Good oral hygiene helps rid the mouth of harmful bacteria and the food particles.
How Gingival Bacteria Tricks Your Defenses
Porphyromonas gingivalis, or P. gingivalis, is the bacteria primarily responsible for causing gum disease. A recent research study published in the Journal of Leukocyte Biology revealed that P. gingivalis has the ability to trick your immune system. The bacteria help produce special anti-inflammatory molecules known as Interleukin 10(IL-10). Interleukin prevents T-cells from properly functioning. Your body uses T-cells to fight microbial infection and prevent serious issues such as gum disease. Soon, your body has inadvertently weakened its own defenses, allowing P. gingivalis to spread inflammation.
According to John Wherry, Ph.D., and Deputy Editor of the Journal of Leukocyte Biology: “Gum diseases and the infections that cause them can be incredibly stubborn and difficult to treat. These new studies now demonstrate that these bacteria go beyond merely evading our body’s defenses and actually manipulate our immune systems for their own survival.”
Schedule a Visit with Your Lake Forest General Dentist
Do you experience sore or tender gums? If you exhibit symptoms of gum disease, contact your Lake Forest general dentist for a diagnosis and to discuss treatment options. Call 847-234-0517. Our dentist office offers the latest in cosmetic dentistry and welcomes patients from Lake Forest and North Shore suburbs near Chicago.