Preventing Bacteria From Falling In With The Wrong Crowd Could Help Stop Gum Disease

Stripping some mouth bacteria of their access key to gangs of other pathogenic oral bacteria could help prevent gum disease and tooth loss. The study, published in the journal Microbiology suggests that this bacterial access key could be a drug target for people who are at high risk of developing gum disease.

Treponema denticola

Oral bacteria called Treponema denticola frequently gang up in communities with other pathogenic oral bacteria to produce destructive dental plaque. This plaque, made up of bacteria, saliva and food debris, is a major cause of bleeding gums and gum disease. Later in life this can lead to periodontitis and loss of teeth. It is this interaction between different oral pathogens that is thought to be crucial to the development of periodontal disease.

Researchers from the University of Bristol have discovered that a molecule on the surface of Treponema called CTLP acts as the key pass that grants the bacterium access to the community, by allowing it to latch onto other oral bacteria. Once incorporated, CTLP in conjunction with other bacterial molecules can start to wreak havoc by inhibiting blood clotting (leading to continued bleeding of the gums) and causing tissue destruction.

Professor Howard Jenkinson, who led the study, said that periodontal disease and bleeding gums are common ailments, affecting many groups of people, including the elderly, pregnant women and diabetics. “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.

The study shows that CTLP could be a good target from which novel therapies could be developed. “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.” The team is now working to find a compound that will inhibit CTLP. “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,” explained Professor Jenkinson.

The latest study backs up previous work in Professor Jenkinson’s lab on the workings of harmful oral bacteria. “The overarching message from our latest study as well as previous work is that regular tooth brushing and maintaining a healthy mouth is vitally important to keep harmful mouth bacteria at bay,” he stressed.

  • Full bibliographic information Professor Jenkinson’s paper “Treponema denticola CTLP (chymotrypsin-like proteinase) integrates spirochaetes within oral microbial communities” will be published online ahead of print on Wednesday 1 February in the Society for General Microbiology’s Journal Microbiology. Advance copies of the paper are available on request.
    Ref: http://dx.doi.org/10.1099/mic.0.055939-0

Consuming Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids May Lower the Incidence of Gum Disease

22 October 2010 Elsevier

New Study in Journal of the American Dietetic Association

Periodontitis and tooth loss. Although traditional treatments concentrate on the, a common inflammatory disease in which gum tissue separates from teeth, leads to accumulation of bacteria and potential bone bacterial infection, more recent strategies target the inflammatory response. In an article in the November issue of the Journal of the American Dietetic Association , researchers from Harvard Medical School and Harvard School of Public Health found that dietary intake of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) like fish oil, known to have anti-inflammatory properties, shows promise for the effective treatment and prevention of periodontitis.

“We found that n-3 fatty acid intake, particularly docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), are inversely associated with periodontitis in the US population,” commented Asghar Z. Naqvi, MPH, MNS, Department of Medicine, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. “To date, the treatment of periodontitis has primarily involved mechanical cleaning and local antibiotic application. Thus, a dietary therapy, if effective, might be a less expensive and safer method for the prevention and treatment of periodontitis. Given the evidence indicating a role for n-3 fatty acids in other chronic inflammatory conditions, it is possible that treating periodontitis with n-3 fatty acids could have the added benefit of preventing other chronic diseases associated with inflammation, including stoke as well.”

Using data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), a nationally representative survey with a complex multistage, stratified probability sample, investigators found that dietary intake of the PUFAs DHA and (EPA) were associated with a decreased prevalence of periodontitis, although linolenic acid (LNA) did not show this association.

Salmon

The study involved over 9,000 adults who participated in NHANES between 1999 and 2004 who had received dental examinations. Dietary DHA, EPA and LNA intake were estimated from 24-hour food recall interviews and data regarding supplementary use of PUFAs were captured as well. The NHANES study also collected extensive demographic, ethnic, educational and socioeconomic data, allowing the researchers to take other factors into consideration that might obscure the results.

The prevalence of periodontitis in the study sample was 8.2%. There was an approximately 20% reduction in periodontitis prevalence in those subjects who consumed the highest amount of dietary DHA. The reduction correlated with EPA was smaller, while the correlation to LNA was not statistically significant.

In an accompanying commentary, Elizabeth Krall Kaye, PhD, Professor, Boston University Henry M. Goldman

Peanut Butter

School of Dental Medicine, notes that three interesting results emerged from this study. One was that significantly reduced odds of periodontal disease were observed at relatively modest intakes of DHA and EPA. Another result of note was the suggestion of a threshold dose; that is, there seemed to be no further reduction in odds or periodontal disease conferred by intakes at the highest levels. Third, the results were no different when dietary plus supplemental intakes were examined. These findings are encouraging in that they suggest it may be possible to attain clinically meaningful benefits for periodontal disease at modest levels of n-3 fatty acid intakes from foods.

 

Foods that contain significant amounts of polyunsaturated fats include fatty fish like salmon, peanut butter, and nuts.

  • Full bibliographic informationArticle: “n-3 Fatty Acids and Periodontitis in US Adults” by Asghar Z.

    Nuts

    Naqvi, MPH, MNS; Catherine Buettner, MD, MPH; Russell S. Phillips, MD; Roger B. Davis, ScD; and Kenneth J. Mukamal, MD, MPH, MA.
    Commentary: “n-3 Fatty Acid Intake and Periodontal Disease” by Elizabeth Krall Kaye, PhD
    Both appear in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association, Volume 110, Issue 11 (November 2010) published by Elsevier.

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