Existing Drug May Offer Protection Against Periodontitis

December 6, 2013 by Dr. Emanuel Layliev Blog, Dental News

A drug that is currently used to treat intestinal worms may hold the key to fighting periodontitis, a common form of gum disease.

Researchers at the University of Melbourne, Australia found that the drug, Oxantel, may control the growth of the bacteria responsible for periodontitis.  The results were impressive enough to be published in print and ahead of schedule in Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy, a prestigious scientific journal.

One of the reasons the discovery is generating a buzz is that existing treatments for periodontitis are wholly inadequate, even antiquated.  At present, a person with the common gum disease must recline in a dentist’s chair and have the dental plaque scraped away from the gumline with a metal tool.  The process is uncomfortable (both for doctor and patient), time consuming, and ineffective, since the dental plaque frequently grows back. How common is it?

According to recent estimates, periodontitis affects more than one-third of the adult population. In extreme cases, the disease can erode  the structure that keep teeth in place, including the bones themselves.  Periodontitis has also been linked to increased risk of heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, stroke, and dementia.

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