Nav: Home

Investigators chart microbial ecology of gingivitis, periodontitis

August 12, 2016

Washington, DC - August 12, 2016 - Gingivitis, a common and mild form of gum disease can progress to periodontitis, a more serious infection that damages the soft tissue of the gums and sometimes even destroys the bone supporting the teeth. An international team of researchers and clinicians has charted the microbial ecology of the mouth at all stages of this progression, in nearly 1,000 women in Malawi. This work is laying a foundation of knowledge that could lead to better oral health. The research is published August 12 in Applied and Environmental Microbiology, a journal of the American Society for Microbiology.

The investigators used high-throughput sequencing of the 16S ribosomal RNA (rRNA) gene to take the census of the oral microbiomes. Among much else, they found that a small number of species were associated with periodontitis, but not gingivitis, including members of the genera, Prevotella, Treponema, and Selemonas. "Our findings confirm that periodontitis cannot be considered simply an advanced stage of gingivitis, even when only considering supragingival plaque," said first author Liam Shaw, a PhD student at University College London, United Kingdom.

Periodontitis is diagnosed by measuring the depth of the pockets in the gums next to the teeth. "But diagnosing periodontitis visually is impossible and it doesn't usually give any symptoms until it has developed so far that teeth become mobile, which is very late for any treatment," said coauthor Ulla Harjunmaa, a dentist with a master's degree in international Health, who is a PhD student at the Center for Child Health Research, University of Tampere and Tampere University Hospital, Finland.

Diagnosis requires specially trained dental professionals and expensive equipment, which are seldom available in developing countries, said Harjunmaa. But among other things, in the future, this research may lead to an inexpensive and rapid point-of-care test, based on distinguishing the two conditions' microbiomes. "The research made it possible to tell which differences in bacteria were linked specifically to the deepening of dental pockets--which causes loss of teeth--rather than just to bleeding gums," explained Shaw,.

"We're not the first to do this sort of research into periodontal disease, but our study is the largest to be done in such a setting," said Shaw. "There is a great need to find new solutions to prevent these problems everywhere, but especially in this kind of setting." He added that oral infections are very common in Malawi, since there is little awareness about oral health and prevention, and little treatment available.

Some of the techniques used in the research may have wide applications, said Shaw. "Where diseases can have multiple severities and clinical features that are also found in non-disease (like bleeding gums in periodontitis), this kind of modeling will be increasingly important in microbiome research."

Periodontal disease is a major public health problem associated with oral bacteria. In developed nations, approximately half of adults are thought to have moderate periodontal disease, with another 7-15 percent having advanced disease, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Additionally, periodontal disease is thought to be a risk factor for cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and other chronic health conditions. Treating gum disease could reduce healthcare costs, as well as hospitalizations, according to a study published in the August, 2014 American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

"The best way to prevent periodontal disesases is by proper tooth brushing twice a day combined with flossing once a day," said Harjunmaa. For smokers, quitting is also critically important to prevention, she said.
-end-
The American Society for Microbiology is the largest single life science society, composed of over 48,000 scientists and health professionals. ASM's mission is to promote and advance the microbial sciences.

ASM advances the microbial sciences through conferences, publications, certifications and educational opportunities. It enhances laboratory capacity around the globe through training and resources. It provides a network for scientists in academia, industry and clinical settings. Additionally, ASM promotes a deeper understanding of the microbial sciences to diverse audiences.

American Society for Microbiology

Related Periodontal Disease Articles:

Periodontal disease: Patent for new treatment method
New biodegradable rods promise to provide better treatment for periodontal disease.
Acute periodontal disease bacteria love colon and dirt microbes
Mythbuster: The idea that bacterial collaborations within microbiomes, like in the mouth, have evolved to be generous and exclusive very much appears to be wrong.
Metabolomic profiling of antibody response to periodontal pathogens
At the 97th General Session & Exhibition of the International Association for Dental Research (IADR), held in conjunction with the 48th Annual Meeting of the American Association for Dental Research (AADR) and the 43rd Annual Meeting of the Canadian Association for Dental Research (CADR), Jaakko Leskela, University of Helsinki, Finland, gave an oral presentation on 'Metabolomic Profiling of Antibody Response to Periodontal Pathogens.'
New technique could help regrow tissue lost to periodontal disease
According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about half of all Americans will have periodontal disease at some point in their lives.
Periodontal disease bacteria may kick-start Alzheimer's
Long-term exposure to periodontal disease bacteria causes inflammation and degeneration of brain neurons in mice that is similar to the effects of Alzheimer's disease in humans.
Systematic treatment of periodontal disease: Advantage of further therapeutic approaches
An indication or hint of greater benefit was now shown for six instead of two therapeutic measures.
Investigating the enigmatic link between periodontal inflammation and retinal degeneration
At the 47th Annual Meeting of the American Association for Dental Research (AADR), held in conjunction with the 42nd Annual Meeting of the Canadian Association for Dental Research (CADR), Hyun Hong, The Dental College of Georgia at Augusta University, presented a poster titled 'Investigating the Enigmatic Link Between Periodontal Inflammation and Retinal Degeneration.' The AADR/CADR Annual Meeting is in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., USA from March 21-24, 2018.
The subgingival virome in periodontal health and disease
At the 47th Annual Meeting of the American Association for Dental Research (AADR), held in conjunction with the 42nd Annual Meeting of the Canadian Association for Dental Research (CADR), Abby Siefker, The Ohio State University, Columbus, presented an oral session titled 'The Subgingival Virome in Periodontal Health and Disease.' The AADR/CADR Annual Meeting is in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., USA from March 21-24, 2018.
Oral microbiota indicates link between periodontal disease and esophageal cancer
An analysis of bacteria present in the mouth showed that some types of bacteria that lead to periodontal disease were associated with higher risk of esophageal cancer.
Periodontal disease is associated with higher risk of several cancer types
Periodontal disease was associated with increased risk of several types of cancer in postmenopausal women, even in women who had never smoked.
More Periodontal Disease News and Periodontal Disease Current Events

Top Science Podcasts

We have hand picked the top science podcasts of 2019.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Accessing Better Health
Essential health care is a right, not a privilege ... or is it? This hour, TED speakers explore how we can give everyone access to a healthier way of life, despite who you are or where you live. Guests include physician Raj Panjabi, former NYC health commissioner Mary Bassett, researcher Michael Hendryx, and neuroscientist Rachel Wurzman.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#544 Prosperity Without Growth
The societies we live in are organised around growth, objects, and driving forward a constantly expanding economy as benchmarks of success and prosperity. But this growing consumption at all costs is at odds with our understanding of what our planet can support. How do we lower the environmental impact of economic activity? How do we redefine success and prosperity separate from GDP, which politicians and governments have focused on for decades? We speak with ecological economist Tim Jackson, Professor of Sustainable Development at the University of Surrey, Director of the Centre for the Understanding of Sustainable Propserity, and author of...
Now Playing: Radiolab

An Announcement from Radiolab