Treating gum infections with an antibiotic decreases two markers of inflammation throughout the body, further supporting the connection between oral health and general health.
This is what researchers from the University at Buffalo School of Dental Medicine have shown.
In findings presented in San Diego, CA, Saturday (March 9) at the International Association of Dental Research meeting, researchers reported that applying an antibiotic gel in spaces where gums were inflamed and pulling away from the teeth reduced the amount of C-reactive protein and fibrinogen in the blood stream while killing oral bacteria.
C-reactive protein and fibrinogen are markers for inflammatory activity associated with the development of atherosclerosis and other chronic diseases.
"This is an important finding because we have come to understand that heart disease has a substantial inflammatory component," said Sara Grossi, D.D.S., UB clinical assistant professor of oral biology, who oversaw the research.
"Several studies conducted here and elsewhere have found oral bacteria from gum infections in arterial plaque. Now we have shown that therapy for periodontal disease lessens the inflammatory burden throughout the body."
The study is part of a $7.3 million project at UB, funded by the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, to plan and conduct a pilot study for a clinical trial of the impact of periodontal disease treatment on prevention of second heart attacks.
Grossi and colleagues randomized 100 adults with chronic periodontal disease to one of four treatment groups, two of which included the use of an antibiotic-infused gel. The remaining two groups received standard gum treatments without the antibiotic gel. Treatment was administered at the start of the study and repeated at three months. Blood samples were collected at the study's start, and again at six weeks, three months and six months.
Results showed that both groups treated with antibiotic gel had significant reductions in C-reactive protein and fibrinogen at three months, compared to baseline. The effect of antibiotic treatment on reducing levels of C-reactive protein remained for six months.
Additional researchers on the project were Zainab Alibhai, D.D.S., graduate student in the UB School of Dental Medicine; Alex Ho, statistician in the UB Department of Oral Biology; Robert J. Genco, D.D.S., Ph.D., UB vice provost, SUNY Distinguished Professor and chair of the UB Department of Oral Biology, and Steve Garrett, D.D.S., of Atrix Laboratories, Inc.
The study was supported by grants from the U.S. Public Health Service (USPHS) and Atrix Laboratories, Inc. - By Lois Baker
[Contact: Lois Baker]