Little-known mouth fluid may lead to test for gum disease

May 26th, 2010 in Chemistry / Biochemistry
The gums produce a little-known fluid that could provide the basis of an early, noninvasive test for gum disease. Credit: iStock


The gums produce a little-known fluid that could provide the basis of an early, noninvasive test for gum disease. Credit: iStock

A little-known fluid produced in tiny amounts in the gums, those tough pink tissues that hold the teeth in place, has become a hot topic for scientists trying to develop an early, non-invasive test for gum disease, the No. 1 cause of tooth loss in adults. It's not saliva, a quart of which people produce each day, but gingival crevicular fluid (GCF), produced at the rate of millionths of a quart per tooth. The study, the most comprehensive analysis of GCF to date, appears in ACS' Journal of Proteome Research.

Eric Reynolds and colleagues note that GCF accumulates at sites of in the crevice between teeth and gums. Since dental workers can easily collect the fluid from patients, GCF has become a prime candidate for a simple inexpensive test to distinguish mild gum disease from the serious form that leads to tooth loss. But researchers have little information about the of GCF.

The scientists collected GCF samples from 12 patients with a history of gum disease. Using high-tech instruments, they identified 66 proteins, 43 of which they found in the fluid for the first time. The fluid contained proteins from several sources, including bacteria and the breakdown products of gum tissue and bone, they note. They also identified antibacterial substances involved in fighting infection. The findings advance efforts to develop an early test for , they suggest.

More information: "Mass Spectrometric Analyses of Peptides and Proteins in Human Gingival Crevicular Fluid", Journal of Proteome Research.

Provided by American Chemical Society

"Little-known mouth fluid may lead to test for gum disease." May 26th, 2010. http://phys.org/news194102204.html