New EU project aims to study gum disease and improve treatment

May 2nd, 2014

‘Trigger’ is a new EU project bringing together various research institutions to better study gum disease.

According to data published by the World Health Organisation, just under two thirds of all adults suffer from inflamed gums, which can cause them to bleed, swell further, or even recede. If it continues to go untreated, gum disease can become so bad that teeth loosen and actually fall out of the mouth.

However, the causes and effects of gum disease are not the focus of the new EU study, but rather the link between gum inflammation and other diseases such as cardiopulmonary disease, rheumatoid arthritis and Alzheimer’s, among others.

‘Trigger’ brings together 11 research institutions in Europe from 9 different countries, and is focused on studying gum disease. The aim is to prove a connection between gum disease and these other diseases so that they might be able to recommend courses of treatment.

There are already numerous studies that suggest oral health is a key indicator of general health, and that problems with the mouth can indicate wider bodily health problems.

One of the tasks Trigger is attempting to complete is developing a substance that will effectively target oral germs. A key bacteria in the development of gum disease is Porphyromonas gingivalis, which is highly toxic and affects the connective tissue of the gum. The research group is hoping to develop something which will inhibit the bacteria’s action, and stop it destroying the gum and bone tissue surrounding the teeth.

Though a group has had success in this effort before, much more work needs to be done before any sort of medicine can be introduced to the market. In the meantime, gum disease can be prevented by maintaining good dental hygiene, meaning brushing teeth properly twice a day, flossing, and rinsing with mouthwash.

Bleeding gums is already a sign of very mild gum disease – if the problem persists, consult a dentist as soon as possible, as the disease will only get worse if not prevented.

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Categories: General