Is Your DNA Causing a Protein Deficiency?

Absence of a Key Protein may lead to Rapid Bone Loss

Recent research has discovered that the absence of a certain protein – tristetraprolin (TTP) – can lead to rapid bone loss in a human. The loss from this protein deficiency is rather severe, with the person possibly losing as much as 20 percent of oral bone loss in as little as nine months.


The Experiment

The study was published in the Journal of Dental Research, and mice were used in the experiment. There were three groups of mice, and one group did not have the gene. Another group had genes that produced an overabundance of TTP, and the other group produced a normal amount.


When the study was looking for protein deficiency symptoms, they examined the osteoclasts in the oral tissue. Osteoclasts are cells that break down bone. When the mice in the group were examined at three months, the group without TTP had already lost 14 percent of the bone in the jaw. They were also checked at six and nine months, the group without TTP had lost as much as 19 percent of their jawbone by that time.


Another key finding was that there were also some inflammatory conditions that had developed during the test. The mice without the protein had periodontitis, arthritis, eczema, and other conditions caused by inflammation. It was also discovered that the bacteria that normally occurs in the mouth of the mice had been altered, leading researchers to believe that a lack of the gene allowed the wrong types of bacteria – pathogenic types – to multiply out of their normal proportion.


The Protein Deficiency Result

You cannot know whether or not you have the protein deficiency of tristetraprolin unless you have a gene test. However, you can find out whether you or others in your family and relatives have periodontitis. This bad gum disease should be treated quickly if you have it. If your family has a history of it, then you should be going to a dentist regularly to help you know if it develops and to treat it.


About Periodontitis

Gum disease starts out as gingivitis, which is the mild form. It can usually be eliminated by brushing twice a day and flossing. The two symptoms are red and inflamed gums and gums that bleed when you brush them.


The main cause of gum disease is a lack of proper care of your teeth. If this pattern is allowed to continue, it will become periodontitis sooner or later. This will have the following symptoms:


  • Gums that bleed easily

  • Receding gums

  • Inflamed gums

  • Gums pulling away from the teeth

  • Pockets forming on gums

  • Pus at the gum line

  • Bad breath

  • Teeth becoming loose

  • Teeth falling out.


In some people, periodontitis can advance quickly. This may be because of other genes as well, but not having this gene means that care needs to be given quickly. Periodontitis will not go away on its own and you cannot get rid of it yourself.


Additional Problems

Besides the possibility of periodontitis, the person not having this gene is also at risk for osteoporosis. Other problems – possibly even more serious – are also at stake. Researchers have discovered in the past few years that there is a strong connection between periodontitis and other major health problems. The bacteria that cause periodontitis, along with the inflammation, have been found to be behind many other major diseases including cardiovascular disease, heart attacks, stroke, several types of cancer, and more.


Treating Periodontitis

Dentists have several ways to treat periodontitis, but it depends on how advanced it has become. There are four stages of the disease, with the last stage causing the teeth to fall out. Before this occurs, though, the ligaments that support the teeth, the gums, and some of the jawbone have already been at least partly destroyed by the bacteria and inflammation.


During treatment, the dentist must eradicate the bacteria and destroyed tissue and inflammation from the pockets on the gums. This may involve a non-surgical treatment (scaling and root planing) or surgical (pocket reduction) – or both.


After this has been completed, the dentist may need to do some restoration. If teeth have been lost, they will need to be restored – usually with dental implants. Other repair work may also be done, such as bone and gum grafts.


Whether or not you are deficient of the tristetraprolin protein, you still should take good care of your teeth and gums. At the very least, you should brush your teeth twice a day for at least two minutes each time. Then, you also need to floss. Avoid tobacco. Make regular dental appointments for checkups and cleaning, and let the dentist help you to protect or treat your gums for periodontal disease.


If you have periodontal disease from possible protein deficiency and have suffered dental bone loss, Dr. Kumar T. Vadivel, DDS, FDS RCS, MS, a Board Certified Periodontist, can provide treatment for it. He provides a wide range of dental services for all ages and accepts most dental health plans. His dental offices are located in the Carrollton, TX, and Grapevine, TX areas. For a consultation or dental checkup, you can contact his office today at (817) 756-8578.

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