A University of Michigan study found that the bacteria that causes gum disease also destroys protective proteins in the mouth, triggering these proteins to become bone-destroying cells, causing deterioration of the jaw.
The bacteria that causes periodontitis was newly discovered- it’s a bacterium called NI1060, and it was discovered by Yizu Jiao, a postdoctoral fellow at the U-M Health System, Noahiro Inohara, a research associate professor at the U-M Health System, William Giannobile, a professor of dentistry, and Julie Marchesan, formerly of Giannobile’s lab. Together they found what causes gum disease, and also discovered that significant bone loss can occur as a result of severe gum disease.
The proteins triggered by NI1060 are called Nod1 and are typically protective against bacterial infection. But, when there’s gum disease and an accumulation of NI1060, these proteins turn against us and trigger neutrophils and osteoclasts, cells that destroy bones. This causes the bones closest to our oral cavity, our jaw, to weaken.
To prevent gum disease and, in addition, prevent bone loss, take these steps to keep your gums pink and healthy:
- Brush thoroughly and with the correct brush- nothing too hard, this can irritate your gumline.
- Use floss at least once daily to remove stubborn plaque.
- Rinse with mouthwash after brushing.
- Have a healthy diet; stay away from sugar and starches
- Be sure to visit your dentist twice a year.