At our Santa Fe family dental practice, our team works hard to help protect the oral health of all of our patients. One of the biggest threats our patients face to enjoying a great looking smile for a lifetime is severe gum disease, or periodontitis. A chronic infection, periodontitis attacks the gum tissue and underlying bone structure that holds our teeth into position. When these structures are damaged, our teeth become loose and can eventually fall out. Periodontitis ranks as the leading cause of permanent tooth loss in U.S. adults.
Much like when treating any type of infection, antibiotics are typically used to kill the harmful bacteria that causes gum disease. Unfortunately, an over-reliance on the use of antibiotics have made many types of bacteria largely immune to the drug’s effects. However, a new antibiotic being developed at the University of Virginia School of Medicine appears to have a lot of promise when it comes to fighting gum disease, according to researchers.
The results of this study has us excited at our Santa Fe family dental practice, and was published in the Journal of Periodontology.
New Drug Offers Exciting Potential
The drug, called amixicile, was found effective in fighting the type of anaerobic bacteria linked to periodontitis. Researchers have already been testing amixicile’s ability to treat and prevent a dangerous bacteria that can cause life-threatening infections, and now believe the drug could become a perfect treatment option to help patients combat gum disease.
Researchers suggest that amixicile may also possess another important benefit. Because the drug work differently than other types of antibiotics, researchers believe that it will be extremely difficult for bacteria to develop a resistant to amixicile. That means the drug could be widely used without contributing to the growing problems of antibiotic resistance.
“In the fight against antibiotic resistance, it is rare to find an antibiotic that breaks the rules – opening up the possibility for treating patients for life,” wrote researchers. “Why is this important? Medical researchers know that inflammation caused by chronic anaerobic infections like gum disease contribute to the development of autoimmune diseases such as type 2 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, and even Alzheimer’s disease. Having a pill patients could take a day for the prevention of inflammation might just lower their risk for these and other diseases.”
Benefits for Treating Gum Disease
While the new drug could have many different applications, it appears to have several specific benefits when it comes to treating gum disease. The researchers at VCU found that amixicile was highly effective at preventing the growth of six different species of harmful bacterium directly linked with the development of gum infections. Additionally, amixicile was found to reduce the bacteria’s ability to penetrate gum tissue and cause inflammation to develop, key steps in establishing an infection of gum tissue.
Data collected by the research team also suggests that the drug accumulates in inflamed gum tissue where harmful oral bacteria tend to buildup, a feature that may help to prevent amixicile from destroying the healthy bacteria that normally surrounds gum tissue.
Researchers are very excited about the potential shown early on by amixicile. “The bacteria most responsible for the development of periodontal disease are a diverse group. The ability for amixicile to effectively target these bacteria is a significant step forward that will provide a new and targeted treatment approach for gum disease. The need to discover more antibiotics that can directly target specific types of bacteria is incredibly important,” noted researchers.