More people than you may think have gingivitis–up to half of the U.S. population. Some people do not even realize that they have it, and they might have common symptoms like bad breath, and/or swollen, red and bleeding gums. Gingivitis can cause complications like heart disease, pre-term birth, and diabetes if it is not treated. Most of the time, people think it is caused by a lack of proper oral hygiene or the hormonal changes that occur during a woman’s pregnancy (pregnancy gingivitis).
A new study, on the other hand, shows that genetics actually can play a major part in the onset and healing of gum disease. The goal of this study was to pinpoint various changes on a molecular level during the onset and healing processes of the disease. Research showed that ~30% of the human body’s genes are expressed differently during the formation and healing of gingivitis. How one reacts to gingivitis depends greatly on how the body’s immune system is activated. The findings of the study enabled scientists to identify certain biological pathways activated by the onset and remediation of gingivitis, including energy metabolism, immunity response, neural processes, vasculature, chemotaxis, steroid metabolism and wound healing. The information gathered from this study should certainly help scientists and doctors come up with better cures for gingivitis.