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The Dangers of Bacteria from periodontal disease

Periodontal disease, otherwise known as gum disease, is the in infection of the tissues that hold your teeth. This is usually caused by the immense amount of bacteria in our mouths that build up with mucus and other particles that form plaque.  Brushing and flossing help rid of plaque before it becomes tartar which is hardened plaque that cannot be removed except by a dental hygienist or dentist.

Bacteria in the mouth, more specifically in the gum areas are proving to be quite tricky. There have been numerous studies that have gone into various strategies to kill bacteria that cause periodontal disease. Specifically towards the effort of understanding the inflammatory response with the thought that bacteria is dead and the tissue-damaging properties of the periodontal pathogens.

In 2017 a piece of research that focused on determining if the periodontal pathogen-induced death of macrophages that ingest the bugs causes the release that participates in the pathogenesis and progression of periodontists, even after the bacteria has died.

In the study, macrophages were inoculated with three specific bacteria: Treponema denticolaPorphyromonas gingivalis, and Tannerella forsythia.

The study results concluded that the inflammatory cell death and endogenous danger molecules released from cells infected with periodontopathogens that play a critical role in the pathogenesis and progression of periodontist by augmenting immune and inflammatory responses.

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All in all, we can conclude that the macrophages fulfill their destiny of phagocytizing the offending bacteria, but when it decreases, the bacteria that was consumed causes the release of molecules that boost the inflammatory response and participate in the development and progression of periodontitis. This is another method that bacteria overtakes bodily defenses for their gain. So even after the bacterial death, they still have a role to play in this process.

Based off one study, we cannot establish this conclusion as a fact. But, if other studies support this notion in the future, this would add to our knowledge of how truly complex periodontal disease is. Dr. Mary Alexander is a Periodontist In Greenbelt, MD.

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