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News

Gum disease

Society For General Microbiology : 12 September, 2005  (New Product)
Gum diseases caused by bacteria that can survive in the harsh environment of the human mouth may be preventable in future, according to research presented today at the Society for General Microbiology's 157th Meeting at Keele University, UK. 'The NHS already spends
Gum diseases caused by bacteria that can survive in the harsh environment of the human mouth may be preventable in future, according to research presented today at the Society for General Microbiology's 157th Meeting at Keele University, UK.

'The NHS already spends 270 million every year on these gum diseases through the General Dental Service. About one in eight people in the UK is affected, and in severe cases it can lead to lost teeth. There is also growing evidence that the bacteria themselves, or the gum infections they cause, contribute to heart disease, so we urgently need to develop an effective treatment,' says Professor Mike Curtis of the Institute of Cell & Molecular Science at Barts & the London, Queen Mary's School of Medicine and Dentistry.

One of the most important bacteria causing gum disease, Porphyromonas gingivalis, can live in the mouth of infected patients for a long time despite the action of the body's immune defences.

'These bacteria coat themselves and their disease-causing compounds with an unusual sugar, that we think allows them to survive for long periods in the mouth,' says Professor Curtis. 'The bacteria may also capture molecules floating around in our saliva and use them to protect themselves from recognition and damage by our immune defences.'

Once the dental scientists have identified the unique mechanism the bacteria are using to make these sugar coatings they hope to identify new targets for drugs and antimicrobial agents to clean up our mouths.
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