May 31, 2010
ScienceDaily (May 28, 2010) — 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.
Eric Reynolds and colleagues note that GCF accumulates at sites of
inflammation 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 chemical composition 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 gum
disease, they suggest.