In Gum Disease, Your Cells Can Turn Traitor

Inflammation is your body’s response to infection. Inflammation is supposed to increase in response to injury or an invasion by foreign microorganisms, such as gum disease bacteria. Then when the injury is repaired or the invasion is repelled, inflammation is supposed to stop. Unfortunately, in gum disease and other types of oral infection, some of your cells that are supposed to stop inflammation promote it instead, causing a more serious immune response that can be damaging.

When Cells Break Bad

dreamstime_xs_44305131Inflammation is controlled by a certain type of white blood cell, called T-cells. The regulatory type of T-cell is called a Treg. Tregs are supposed to secrete inflammatory compounds during an infection, then stop when the infection is over. But researchers found that during an infection, a certain type of Treg, designated Treg 17, can become fixated on producing inflammatory secretions, and, instead of stopping inflammation, they can promote it.

You might think this is a good thing, because it keeps the body in a fighting stance against infection, but this fighting stance doesn’t come without consequences. Inflammation has to stop for healing to be complete, and when inflammation is going on, your bones can suffer.

Chronic Inflammation Leads to Bone Loss

One of the serious impacts of chronic inflammation is the loss of bone in the inflamed areas. Inflammation interferes with the process of bone remodeling and repair.

Normally, your body is constantly adjusting your bones by removing some and replacing it. This is what allows us to move your teeth with orthodontics like Invisalign. But inflammation causes your body to produce more of the cells that take away bone (osteoclasts) and produce fewer of the cells that build up bone (osteoblasts). This results in more of your bone being removed than rebuilt, resulting in bone loss.

Keeping Your Cells Loyal

There are many potential ways that your cells can be triggered into turning away from their goal. One way is the presence of chronic infection. The longer you have a persistent infection, the more likely it is that your cells are going to get fixated on inflammation.

This is one reason why it’s vital that you get gum disease treated early, before it turns into a serious, chronic infection.

If you are looking for treatment of gum disease in Beverly HIlls, please call (310) 275-5325 for an appointment at Ravon Knopf today.

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