Researchers Discover A Specific Protein Responsible For Inhibiting Gum Disease Decreases With Age
Growing older can be a hard process for many people as the risk of chronic conditions and physical problems increase with age. Although gum disease may not seem like a prime concern when compared to the other health issues facing seniors, if untreated it can lead to more serious complications like tooth decay and loss in addition to a myriad of other oral problems. Recently, researchers have found a possible reason why gum disease is more common with old age by examining the properties of a protein called Del-1. This protein has the ability to protect against the formation of gum disease and seems to naturally decrease as an individual approaches maturity. "Sometimes brushing and flossing isn't enough to keep your mouth healthy." Says Beverly Hills Periodontist Dr. Alex Farnoosh, " As a person ages, they need to take additional steps to ensure healthy teeth and gums as problems tend to be more common in an older population."
Published in Nature Immunology (March 25, 2012), the study was collaboration between Queen Mary University of London and research teams in the United States. Scientists found that because an older population is more susceptible to chronic inflammatory diseases that produce neutrophil-mediated tissue injury like periodontitis, they closely examined a protein called Del-1. Del-1 works with the immune system to stop white blood cells from attaching and attacking mouth tissue. The defensive properties of Del-1 were revealed as researchers experimented with young and old mice; mice lacking Del-1 exhibited severe gum disease and bone loss in addition to a high amount of white blood cells in the gum tissue, while mice with Del-1 had fewer cases of gum disease and bone loss and a reduced number of white blood cells. Taking these findings into consideration, the study further established that Del-1 tends to decline in individuals as they age. Because this protein is integral to protecting the gums from disease and periodontitis, the lack of Del-1 leaves an individual more vulnerable to oral complications. This opens the door for more research centered on the properties of Del-1 and could establish new ways to better treat gum disease.
As a pioneer in the dental field, Dr. Alex Farnoosh is an expert in fighting advanced periodontal disease and is the founder of revolutionary ways to fight this and a variety of other oral problems. Dr. Alex Farnoosh states, "Studies like this are illuminating and exciting because of what it could mean in keeping our patients healthy and gum disease free. I look forward to more research in this field and the advancements that could develop in the fight against gum disease."