Quick detection of periodontitis pathogens
04 January 2013
A new diagnostic platform enables the pathogens that cause periodontitis, an inflammation that can lead to the loss of teeth if left untreated, to be detected quickly, enabling dentists to act swiftly to initiate the right treatment.
Bleeding gums during tooth brushing or when biting into an apple could be an indication of periodontitis, an inflammatory disease of the tissues that surround and support the teeth.
Bacterial plaque attacks the bone, meaning teeth can loosen over time and in the worst case even fall out, as they are left without a solid foundation to hold them in place.
Furthermore, periodontitis also acts as a focal point from which disease can spread throughout the entire body: If the bacteria, which can be very aggressive, enter the bloodstream, they can cause further damage elsewhere.
Physicians suspect there is a connection between periodontitis pathogens and the sort of cardiovascular damage that can cause heart attacks or strokes. In order to stop the source of inflammation, dentists remove dental calculus and deposits from the surface of teeth, but this is often not enough; particularly aggressive bacteria can only be eliminated with antibiotics.
Of the estimated 700 species of bacteria found in the mouth cavity, there are only eleven that are known to cause periodontal disease in particular; of these, some are deemed to be severely pathogenic. If these biomarkers are present in the gingival sulcus – the small gap around the base of the tooth – then the patient is at high risk of a severe form of periodontitis.