Gingivitis and Your Immune System: Enlightening New Study
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention(CDC), estimates that 47.2 percent, or 64.7 million American adults, have mild, moderate or severe periodontitis, the more advanced form of periodontal disease.
That means if you’re chatting it up with three friends, two of you likely require some immediate professional help for your gums. Yikes! What’s worse is that a high percentage of people are completely unaware they have developed this condition, which can affect more than just the mouth. Therefore, what should you know about gingivitis?
- What is gingivitis?—Inflammation that eventually shows as gums red, swollen, or that bleed.
- What causes gingivitis?—Ineffective brushing and flossing that result in bacteria thriving to form plaque and tartar on your teeth triggering inflammation within your body’s cells.
- How serious is gingivitis?—Left untreated, it can lead to periodontitis (a severe form of gum disease). A side-effect of this condition is inflammation that eventually can destroy the bones, gums, and tissue around teeth, leading to their loss. Numerous scientific studies also indicate a link between periodontal disease and exacerbation of other serious medical conditions like diabetes and heart disease.
New Study Reveals an Unexpected Manipulator
According to a research report published by the Journal of Leukocyte Biology, the bacteria known for causing gum disease (Porphyromonas gingivalis) can manipulate your body’s immune system to disable normal processes that would normally have it destoyed.
The research shows that the pathogen helps to prompt the production of an anti-inflammatory molecule known as Interleukin-10 (IL-10). These molecules inhibit the function or T-cells, which would normally help to protect the body from this particular microbial infection. Therefore, unwanted bacteria is allowed to thrive in your gums.
What’s even worse, is that this bacteria goes beyond just evading the body’s defenses, but can actually manipulate your immune system for its own survival. Not something you want to have happen.
It’s hoped that studies such as this one will be able to help create treatments that can prevent infections caused by the pathogen P. gingivalis. Meanwhile, there is something essential you can do to prevent the negative side-effects of gum disease.
You Can Do It!
Develop a good habit of oral hygiene. This includes regularly brushing and flossing to prevent the accumulation of harmful plaque and tartar. What you accidentally miss, bi-annual visits to us for a check-up and cleaning will help in preventing inflammation from getting out-of-control.
A healthy smile brightens the darkest day, so arrange your dental visit now and beat those statistics on dental demise! Rest easy, we know exactly what to watch for, and what to do when we find it. Come see Dr. Cascante, the top choice for dentists in Miami. Your immune system will thank you.
Share with us: Were you ever surprised to learn from your dentist that you had developed gum disease? What are you doing differently now to help prevent it?