Could Your Own Immune System Fight Gum Disease?

helping immune system fight gum diseaseAside from cavities (a result of the condition, tooth decay), gum disease is one of the most common dental health issues among adults in the United States. Because of the destruction it causes, it is also the leading cause of permanent tooth loss. Essentially, gum disease develops when the bacteria in your mouth are allowed to grow out of control. The cause of the condition’s damage, however, is largely due to the rampant inflammation that some of those bacteria incite. Since inflammation is a natural immune response, researchers believe that much of gum disease’s damage may be prevented by helping your immune system control gum inflammation better.

The Part that Inflammation Plays

Under normal circumstances, your immune system utilizes inflammation to fight harmful microorganisms and prevent disease. In the case of gum disease, certain oral bacteria (particularly Porphyromonas gingivalis) create molecules that fool your immune system to evade its aggressive efforts. The resulting unchecked inflammation can severely damage your gums, as well as the jawbone underneath them, leading to the loss of one or more teeth.

Giving Your Immune System a Boost

When your immune system enacts inflammation, it typically regulates the swelling through a group of regulatory T-cells. Experts have found that patients who exhibit gum disease symptoms also exhibit a lower concentration of T-cells in their oral tissues. The deficiency partly explains the mechanisms behind P. gingivalis’ manipulation, and has prompted researchers to study the benefits of increasing T-cells in afflicted gum tissues. After introducing regulatory cells into the diseased gums of animals, the scientists discovered that inflammation and other gum disease symptoms were significantly reduced. The results give hope that T-cell therapy, combined with better dental hygiene and professional dental care, may help lower the instances of gum disease and its resulting tooth loss.

ABOUT YOUR FT. WORTH DENTIST:

Dr. Bob Jing has served patients and their families across Dallas/Ft. Worth for many years. Together with his caring, compassionate, and highly-skilled team at 7 Day Dental, Dr. Jing is dedicated to making good dental health available to as many people as possible. To learn more, or to schedule a consultation or appointment, contact our office closest to you at 817-405-2001 on Jacksboro Highway, or at 817-405-0195 on Seminary Drive.