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Saliva component may predict future oral bone loss

Researchers at the University at Buffalo have identified two components of saliva that may serve as the basis for novel tests to determine the risk for future loss of the bone that holds teeth in place.

By comparing dental X-rays of 100 patients with analyses of their saliva, the researchers found that higher-than-normal levels of a salivary protein called IL-1-beta were associated with increased bone loss.

The level of another protein, osteonectin, was inversely proportional to bone loss, suggesting this marker may serve as a measure of periodontal health.

Results of the research, a collaboration between the UB School of Dental Medicine and the UB School of Public Health and Health Professions, were presented today (March 10, 2006) at the annual meeting of the International Association of Dental Research being held in Orlando, Fla.

"These results show that above-average levels of IL-1 beta in saliva may prove to help the dentist decide whether or not to treat the dental patient for periodontal disease," said lead researcher Frank Scannapieco, D.D.S., Ph.D., professor and chair of the Department of Oral Biology in the UB dental school.

"Currently there is no early warning test for bone-loss activity," Scannapieco added. "We can measure gum pocket depth, or the amount of bone remaining on an X-ray, but these methods only tell us how much damage already has been done. If these findings hold up in future longitudinal studies, the dental practitioner might use a test to decide what interventions are needed for the patient, and perhaps the frequency for recall visits.

"This biomarker test also could provide a quick and easy way to monitor patients over the long-term and to determine if a particular treatment is working," he said.

Periodontal bone loss is a serious oral-health condition that can cause teeth to loosen and fall out. The avai
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Contact: Lois Baker
ljbaker@buffalo.edu
716-645-5000 x1417
University at Buffalo
10-Mar-2006


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