Sentinels in the Mouth: Special Sensory Cells in the Gums Protect Against Periodontitis

07-10-2019

Newly discovered chemical-sensing cells in the gums protect the mouth by standing guard against infections that damage soft tissue and destroy the bone that supports the teeth, report researchers from the Monell Chemical Senses Center in an animal study published this week in Nature Communications. With the help of bitter taste receptors that also detect byproducts from harmful bacteria, these special gum cells trigger the immune system to control the amount and type of bacteria in the mouth and could one day lead to personalized dental treatments against gum disease.