Stopping bacteria in the mouth from interacting could prevent gum disease
Researchers have discovered that stopping certain oral bacteria from having access to other groups of bacteria in the mouth could prevent gum disease and tooth loss. When Treponema denticola joins with other oral bacteria, it produces destructive dental plaque. Plaque causes bleeding gums, gum disease and can lead to periodontitis and loss of teeth. The research team, from the University of Bristol, found a molecule on the surface of Treponema denticola, chymotrypsin-like protease (CTLP), which allows it to attach to the other bacteria, causing severe problems by inhibiting blood clotting and destroying tissue. The team is now working to identify a compound to inhibit CTLP. “If a drug could be developed to target this factor, it could be used in people who are at higher risk from developing gum disease,” explained Professor Howard Jenkinson, who led the study.