Now researchers have found that good bacteria can also induce to pull down the bone that holds teeth in place. This new concept is published in the journal
In a healthy condition, the tooth root is embedded into a socket bounded by bone. Some bacterial infections can weaken the bone supporting the teeth and consequently resulting in tooth loss. These bacteria were considered to be pathogens.
Lipopolysaccharide (LPS) is considered to be the main molecule that causes bone loss in these bacterial gum infections.
In a previous study, researchers have suggested that LPS cannot induce bone loss alone but with the help of prostaglandins.
On the other hand, good bacteria have been known to contribute to gum disease in the initial phases but there is no evidence to show that these bacteria can cause bone loss.
These findings indicate that there is a difference in a point where these bacterial infections outpace the body’s effort to create new bone cells and cause bone loss instead.
In the case of LPS in the PGE2-deficient mice, the balance stayed in favor of bone formation but another molecule lipoteichoic acid (LTA) present in good bacteria tipped the balance towards bone loss.
To prove this finding, researchers injected mice with gum disease with LTA and found that it increased the amount of PGE2, resulting in bone loss.
They also saw that good bacteria proliferated at a higher rate than pathogenic bacteria and they preferred to occupy the depths of the teeth pockets to stay closer to the site of bone loss.
The understanding of these mechanisms will contribute to developing novel drugs for the treatment of gum disease-induced bone loss.