Oral Bacteria’s Strength in Numbers

We warn our children to beware of the company they keep to help prevent them from falling in with the wrong crowd. After all, the wrong influence at the right time can steer anybody into a harmful path. In a study published in the journal Microbiology, researchers at the University of Bristol have discovered that group mentality may be expressed even at the molecular level. Prosper dentist Dr. Angela Ganjoor explores the destructive companionships that Treponema denticola forges with other oral bacteria.

Ganging Up on Your Oral Health

In the course of studying the connection between your oral health and overall health, experts have uncovered incredible interactions between oral bacteria and your body’s tissue. For instance, the bacterium Porphyromonas gingivalis has been shown to excite your body’s inflammatory response to infection, resulting in the red, swollen, and bleeding gums associated with gum disease. T. denticola, however, takes a different approach to attack.

The various bacteria in your mouth accumulate to form the biofilm of plaque that covers your teeth and gums. Plaque consists of good and bad bacteria, and this balance is critical to the health of your oral cavity. During the study, the researchers discovered that the surface of T. denticola contains a molecule known as CTLP, which allows it to attach to other bacteria. Once the joining is complete, the combination of CTLP and congregated species of bacteria can cause extensive damage by inhibiting blood clotting (which leads to excessive bleeding of the gums) and damaging oral tissue. Researchers hope that the identification of CTLP can facilitate the development of a treatment that will reduce or prevent gum disease formation by targeting the molecule.

In the Meantime, Break it UP

Although treatment derived from this study may be years away, you can still take preventive measures to help reduce your risk of developing gum disease. Because oral bacteria inhabit your mouth, ridding yourself of them is impossible. However, by brushing and flossing your teeth at least twice a day, you can keep the population under control, reducing their destructive capacity. Visiting Dr. Ganjoor every six months for a comprehensive dental checkup will drastically improve your chances of detecting signs of gum disease and undergoing treatment before it can cause extensive damage. To learn more about gum disease or maintaining good oral health, schedule an appointment with Dr. Ganjoor at our Prosper dentist office by calling (214) 851-0130. We serve patients of all ages from Celina, Prosper, McKinney, Frisco, Anna, Pilot Point, and the surrounding areas.