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Periodontal Disease

One in 10 people suffers from periodontal diseases, characterized by bleeding in the gums when you brush your teeth, loosening of the teeth and damage to the structures that help the teeth stay in place.

They are caused most commonly by infections by three Gram-negative bacteria: Porphyromonas gingivalis, Bacteroides forsythus and Actinobacillus actinomycetemcomitans. The body responds to these infections by producing various cytokines (IL-1, IL-6, IL-8, TNF-alpha), inflammatory mediators (PGE2), and matrix metalloproteinases (MMP-2, MMP-3, MMP-8, MMP-9). Viruses, such as cytomegalovirus and Epstein-Barr virus) can also cause periodontitis. Conventional treatments for periodontitis aim to eliminate bacterial plaque by scrubbing, cleaning and prescribing antibiotics. Recently dentists have also been prescribing anti-inflammatory drugs to decrease inflammation.

If your gums bleed when you brush your teeth or you have loose teeth, ask your doctor or dentist to prescribe appropriate antibiotics such as a combination of metronidazole 250 mg four times a day, and Biaxin 500 mg twice a day for one week. Also see report #8745 on the link between gum disease and heart attacks.

Current concepts in periodontal diseases. Medecine et Maladies Infectieuses, 2003, Vol 33, Iss 7, pp 331-340. MA Houle, D Grenier. Address: Grenier D, Univ Laval, Fac Med Dent, Grp Rech Ecol Buccale, Laval, PQ G1K 7P4, CANADA

Checked 9/9/15

May 30th, 2013
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About the Author: Gabe Mirkin, MD

Sports medicine doctor, fitness guru and long-time radio host Gabe Mirkin, M.D., brings you news and tips for your healthful lifestyle. A practicing physician for more than 50 years and a radio talk show host for 25 years, Dr. Mirkin is a graduate of Harvard University and Baylor University College of Medicine. He is board-certified in four specialties: Sports Medicine, Allergy and Immunology, Pediatrics and Pediatric Immunology. The Dr. Mirkin Show, his call-in show on fitness and health, was syndicated in more than 120 cities. Read More
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