DNA Testing: How We Target and Eradicate Your Oral Bacteria

BacteriaAt North Raleigh Perio we continuously strive to provide cutting-edge, effective treatment tailored to each patient’s needs. And what could be more unique to a person than their DNA? Now we are able to utilize your DNA to perform oral microbial analyses, allowing us to pinpoint exactly what kind of bacteria is attacking not only your oral health but also your overall health and wellness. In turn, we can diagnose and treat you even more effectively. Continue reading to learn how this DNA testing works, what it does, and how it helps us help you.

What Your Oral Bacteria Reveals About Your Oral and Systemic Health

There are hundreds of bacteria in the mouth, but there are eleven that are particularly destructive. We now have the ability to identify exactly which of these bacteria are present, so we’ll know exactly how to treat the pathogens. Each of these eleven pathogens is linked to periodontal disease and poor oral health. Moreover, each pathogen indicates what systemic complications you are more likely to suffer due to concentrations of certain types of oral bacteria.

An example may be useful. One of the types of bacteria that may be living in your mouth is called Eikenella corrodens. This bacteria is an early colonizer of periodontal pockets, resides in plaque, and causes recurrent gum infection. Additionally, the presence of Eikenella corrodens is a risk factor for respiratory disease. Upon learning that Eikenella corroden has colonized in your mouth, we know that effective treatment entails active periodontal therapy. By simple identification of this bacteria, we are able to establish your oral and systemic risk factors and provide the precise treatment you need  because we know a healthy mouth leads to a healthy body.

As another example, if we find Tannerella forsythia colonizing in your mouth, we know that you are likely to suffer chronic periodontitis or peri-implantitis without treatment. You may also be at a greater risk of developing cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer’s Disease, pregnancy complications, diabetes, esophageal cancer, or kidney diseases. Finally, we know that the best way to eradicate this particular bacteria is through active periodontal therapy and by prescribing the antibiotics metronidazole or clindamycin.

As you can see, by identifying which oral pathogen currently populates your mouth, we are able to obtain important insight into potential and systemic complications for which you are at risk. This knowledge, in turn, allows us to pursue treatment and prescribe medication tailored precisely to your health needs. Consequently, the treatment you receive will be increasingly efficient and effective.

 

How the DNA Test Works

DNA TestIdentifying your most critical risk factors by detecting which periodontal pathogens reside in your mouth sounds complicated. Actually, the process is simple. First. we locate the deepest periodontal “pocket” in your mouth. A pocket refers to the space between the teeth and gums where bacteria love to colonize. The deeper the pocket, the more bacteria grows there. The most harmful bacteria thrive while burrowing deep into your pockets.

Next, we use paperpoints (imagine a tiny, thin Q-tip) to swab for a DNA sample in the pocket. Within 72 hours, we are able to identify the species of pathogenic bacteria that has made its home in your head. Based on the type(s) of pathogens present, the concentration of bacterium, and their virulence, we can provide a precise and comprehensive therapeutic treatment plan including, if necessary, an adjunctive antibiotic prescription.

Moreover, we will go over the results of the DNA test with you in detail to help you understand what your results mean and what the recommended treatment entails. After treatment, we can also perform another DNA test to discern whether the harmful bacteria have been destroyed and to detect and prevent the possibility of relapse.

We are thrilled to implement this cutting-edge technology at North Raleigh Perio. Over 42% of adults over age 30 have some form of periodontal disease, and individuals with periodontal disease may be more susceptible to a variety of systemic complications, from heart disease to pregnancy complications. With DNA bacteria testing, we can now swiftly identify specific pathogenic bacteria in your mouth, implement a treatment plan designed specifically for you, and help get you on the road to oral and systemic health.

Have questions? Give us a call at (919) 518-8222. We’d love to speak with you!