Researchers at the University of Michigan have found that certain antibodies that are present in people with good oral health could hold the key to allowing dentists to predict a patient's probable response to periodontal (gum) disease treatments.
The antibody, HtpG, which is made by the important periodontal disease pathogen Porphyromonas gingivalis, could also potentially be used as a vaccine, according to Charles Shelburne, assistant research scientist at the university's School of Dentistry.
Unusually, the research team found much higher counts of the antibodies in people with healthy teeth and gums than in those with periodontal disease - usually, antibodies are elevated in people with illnesses as it helps them to fight it off.
The discovered that not only were the HtpG antibodies present in higher amounts in people with healthier gums, but those patients also responded better to periodontal treatment.
Dennis Lopatin, principal investigator and senior associate dean of the School of Dentistry, said that although patients with periodontal disease do have high amounts of antibodies, they are not of the right type to protect them.
"It's like being vaccinated against the wrong strain of the flu," he said. "We're in a position now where we have a potential tool that gives insight as to how the patient will respond to treatment."
Gum disease is the leading cause of adult tooth loss, but recent research shows it can also contribute to illnesses such as diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and pneumonia.
© 2008 Brafton Inc.
The materials and articles published on DentalPlans.com are for informational purposes only. Although DentalPlans.com strives to be accurate and complete, the information is provided without liability for errors. DentalPlans.com does not warrant the accuracy or completeness of the information, text graphics, links, or other items contained on DentalPlans.com.
DentalPlans.com expressly disclaims liability for errors or omissions in these materials and DentalPlans.com makes no commitment to update the information on DentalPlans.com.
DentalPlans.com expressly disclaims all liability for the use or interpretation by others of information on DentalPlans.com. Decisions based on information contained on DentalPlans.com are the sole responsibility of the visitors, and visitors agree to hold DentalPlans.com and its Affiliates harmless against any claims for damages arising from decisions visitors make on such information.
Nothing on DentalPlans.com constitutes medical advice or other forms of advice. DentalPlans.com assumes no responsibility for material created or published by third parties linked to DentalPlans.com with or without DentalPlans.com’s knowledge.