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Researchers find new target for gum disease drugs
Updated: 2/10/2012 4:59:57 PM

Researchers find new target for gum disease drugs  

In an effort to reduce the prevalence of gum disease, researchers from the University of Bristol have been working on understanding more about bacteria in the mouth. The scientists determined that denying common bacteria access to gangs of other pathogenic oral bacteria could prevent gum disease and tooth loss.

Oral bacteria called Treponema denticola "gang up" with other pathogenic oral bacteria to produce dental plaque that can lead to gum disease and tooth decay. This plaque is a combination of saliva, bacteria and food debris, and can lead to serious dental health issues later in life.

The scientists have found that a molecule on the surface of this bacteria is what allows it to bind to other bacteria. The researchers are saying that this molecule should be the target of new drugs to prevent a host of dental diseases.

"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," said lead researcher Howard Jenkinson.

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