Key gene in virulence identified will aid in combating gum disease.

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Oral bacteria are notoriously difficult to cultivate in the laboratory, making it difficult to carry out research on them.

A guesstimate of the number of different types of bacteria in the mouth varies from 500-1000. These form a complex oral ecology.

Whilst some are benign and in fact necessary for a healthy mouth others turn sugars into acid which eats into the enamel of the teeth causing decay. In addition they cause inflammation which leads to bleeding gums and bone recession causing tooth loss.

However scientists from the Ohio State College of Dentistry have sequenced DNA of one of the key bacteria associated with gum disease.

Tannerella BU063 possesses a gene complex that is responsible for virulence. This information can be used to target this bacterium to combat the build up of dental plaque which is responsible for tooth decay and bone recession.

Of course this will not replace the need for each of us to brush and floss our teeth as well as using inter-dental brushes to ensure that the food particles are removed and that the plaque (a biofilm which protects bacteria), is regularly disrupted and kept in check.

Regular visits to the dentist/ periodontist and hygienist will also ensure that any problems are spotted early and remedial action taken.

Header image: "EscherichiaColi NIAID" by Credit: Rocky Mountain Laboratories, NIAID, NIH - NIAID: These high-resolution (300 dpi) images may be downloaded directly from this site. All the images, except specified ones from the World Health Organization (WHO), are in the public domain. For the public domain images, there is no copyright, no permission required, and no charge for their use.. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons -
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