Medical research

Disarming a blood-clotting protein prevents gum disease in mice

Blocking function of a blood-clotting protein prevented bone loss from periodontal (gum) disease in mice, according to research led by scientists at the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR), part ...

HIV & AIDS

Oral health in HIV+ population

Pushpa Pandiyan, associate professor of biological sciences in the School of Dental Medicine, and a team of researchers have been working to discover the cause behind residual systemic inflammation and dysfunction of the ...

Alzheimer's disease & dementia

Imbalance in gum bacteria linked to Alzheimer's disease biomarker

Older adults with more harmful than healthy bacteria in their gums are more likely to have evidence for amyloid beta—a key biomarker for Alzheimer's disease—in their cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), according to new research ...

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Periodontitis

Periodontitis (peri = around, odont = tooth, -itis = inflammation) refers to a number of inflammatory diseases affecting the periodontium — that is, the tissues that surround and support the teeth. Periodontitis involves progressive loss of the alveolar bone around the teeth, and if left untreated, can lead to the loosening and subsequent loss of teeth. Periodontitis is caused by bacteria that adhere to and grow on the tooth's surfaces, along with an overly aggressive immune response against these bacteria. A diagnosis of periodontitis is established by inspecting the soft gum tissues around the teeth with a probe and radiographs by visual analysis, to determine the amount of bone loss around the teeth. Specialists in the treatment of periodontitis are periodontists; their field is known as "periodontology" and "periodontics".

Chronic Periodontitis, the most common form of the disease, progresses relatively slowly and typically becomes clinically evident in adulthood. Aggressive Periodontitis is a rarer form, but as its name implies, progresses more rapidly and becomes clinically evident in adolescence. Although the different forms of periodontitis are all caused by bacterial infections, a variety of factors affect the severity of the disease. Important "risk factors" include smoking, poorly-controlled diabetes, and inherited (genetic) susceptibility.

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