Soft gums are more susceptible to infections!

The area of ​​tissue surrounding our teeth is known as the gingiva, and healthy teeth will sit firmly in the gums thanks to the many periodontal fibers that connect the tooth to the gum. The gums are home to fibroblasts – cells that contribute to the formation of connective tissue. A team of scientists from Tohoku University discovered that gingival hardening affects the properties of gingival fibroblasts, which in turn affects the likelihood of inflammation and makes gingival fibers difficult to form.

Their findings have been published in the journal Scientific reports On January 24, 2023.

“We discovered that soft gums lead to inflammation and hinder the growth of periodontal fibers,” says Associate Professor Masahiro Yamada of Tohoku University’s School of Dental Medicine.

It has long been known that individuals with thick or hardened gums are less likely to have receding gums. This is where the gums begin to recede, exposing the root of the tooth. Many factors can lead to receding gums, such as gum disease, excessive brushing and chewing tobacco. But this is the first time that periodontal hardening has been attributed to biological interactions.

Although fibroblasts play an important role in the maintenance, repair and healing of the gums, they also produce many inflammatory and tissue biomolecules that degrade the periodontal fibers. In addition, fibroblasts are associated with immune responses to pathogens.

Yamada, along with colleague Professor Hiroshi Igusa, of Tohoku University Graduate School of Dental Medicine, created an artificial culture environment that mimicked soft or hard gums and transplanted human gingival fibroblasts onto it. They discovered that gingival sclerosis activates an intracellular anti-inflammatory system in gingival fibroblasts that suppresses inflammation. However, the soft, gum-like hardness suppresses the anti-inflammatory fibrous system. This increased the potential for inflammation and led to reduced collagen synthesis.

“Our research is the first to elucidate the biological mechanisms that play a role in relation to a patient’s periodontal characteristics,” Yamada adds. “The results are expected to accelerate the development of advanced biomaterials to control local inflammation or microdevices that mimic the microenvironment of inflammatory conditions.”

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