The journal of Microbiology recently published a study containing results which suggest that we may now have the keys to preventing gum disease and tooth loss. The study says that if we can strip some oral bacteria from being able to access the other pathogenic oral bacteria then we may be able to use them to help prevent decay and loss. Researchers believe that we can use this access key that oral bacteria currently have to develop a drug, which can then be supplied to those at high risk of developing gum disease as an order of prevention.

The bacteria in question, Treponema denticola, are being targeted for their tendency to pair with other oral bacteria. It has been found by researchers that it is this pairing that allows the oral bacteria to produce plaque. As we know plaque is a huge source of problems for our oral health, being a major cause of gum disease and tooth loss. The effects of plaque are especially damaging as we age. The researchers from this study believe that the union of these bacteria with other pathogenic bacteria is a major determinant of whether a person will get periodontal disease.

The study comes from the University of Bristol and they have discovered some incredible new insights to the world of oral bacteria. The researchers discovered that there is actually a molecule located on the surface of the Treponema denticola that acts almost like a password for allowing the Treponema denticola to access the full community of oral bacteria. The molecule, called CLTP, allows the Treponema denticola to latch on to other bacteria in the mouth. Once it has latched on, the CLTP will work together with the other bacteria in the mouth to stop blood clotting. This will lead to continuous gum bleeding which can be dangerous for the future of a person’s oral health as well as their overall health. Periodontal disease is a very dangerous illness which can affect many different types of people.
Howard Jenkinson, a professor t the University of Bristol, led the research team on this study. “Devising new means to control these infections requires deeper understanding of the microbes involved, their interactions, and how they are able to become incorporated into dental plaque,” he said.

“CTLP gives Treponema access to other periodontal communities, allowing the bacteria to grow and survive. Inhibiting CTLP would deny Treponema access to the bacterial communities responsible for dental plaque, which in turn would reduce bleeding gums and slow down the onset of periodontal disease and tooth loss,” he continued.

The research team hopes to use this information to develop treatments for periodontal disease. They are currently working on this project, using the information gathered from the previous study to research ways they may be able to inhibit the CLTP. “If a drug could be developed to target this factor, it could be used in people who are at higher risk from developing gum disease,” said Jenkinson.

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