Gum disease is a major cause of tooth loss and a challenge to treat. Now, new research suggests why silicon nitride - a ceramic material used in spinal implants - could lead to effective, new types of gum disease treatment.

Periodontitis is a serious, chronic, non-communicable gum disease that damages the soft tissue and bone that support the teeth. Estimates suggest it affects 15-20% of middle-aged (35-44 years) adults. The disease starts when the bacterium Porphyromonas gingivalis infects the tissue around the teeth, giving rise to gum inflammation. If this is not treated, the condition progresses and the bacteria begin to eat away at the bone around the teeth.

The disease starts when the bacterium Porphyromonas gingivalis infects the tissue around the teeth, giving rise to gum inflammation. If this is not treated, the condition progresses and the bacteria begin to eat away at the bone around the teeth.

Having untreated gum disease not only leads to tooth loss, but it also raises risk of heart attack or stroke.

Treatment options include deep cleaning - such as scaling and root planing - to remove the built-up plaque that harbors bacteria, plus antibiotics and surgery.

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