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Preventing Bacteria from Falling in With the Wrong Crowd Could Help Stop Gum Disease

Stripping some mouth bacteria of their access key to gangs of other pathogenic oral bacteria could help prevent gum disease and tooth loss. The study, published in the journal Microbiology suggests that this bacterial access key could be a drug target for people who are at high risk of developing gum disease.

Oral bacteria called Treponema denticola frequently gang up in communities with other pathogenic oral bacteria to produce destructive dental plaque. This plaque, made up of bacteria, saliva and food debris, is a major cause of bleeding gums and gum disease. Later in life this can lead to periodontitis and loss of teeth. It is this interaction between different oral pathogens that is thought to be crucial to the development of periodontal disease.

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