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Salivary antioxidants and periodontal disease status

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  28 February 2007

Dean V. Sculley*
Centre for Healthcare Education, University College Northampton, Boughton Green Road, Northampton NN2 7AL, UK
Simon C. Langley-Evans
Division of Nutritional Biochemistry, University of Nottingham, Sutton Bonington Campus, Loughborough LE12 5RD, UK
*Corresponding Author: D. V. Sculley, fax +44 1604 791114, email
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Periodontal disease is a common chronic adult condition. The bacterium Porphyromonas gingivalis has been implicated in the aetiology of this disease, which causes destruction of the connective tissue and bone around the root area of the tooth. It has been observed that invading P. gingivalis bacteria trigger the release of cytokines such as interleukin 8 and tumour necrosis factor α, leading to elevated numbers and activity of polymorphonucleocytes (PMN). As a result of stimulation by bacterial antigens, PMN produce the reactive oxygen species (ROS) superoxide via the respiratory burst as part of the host response to infection. Patients with periodontal disease display increased PMN number and activity. It has been suggested that this proliferation results in a high degree of ROS release, culminating in heightened oxidative damage to gingival tissue, periodontal ligament and alveolar bone. Antioxidant constituents in plasma have been well-documented, being chiefly ascorbate, albumin and urate, and these are known to display sensitivity to dietary antioxidant intakes. The concentration of antioxidants in saliva does not appear to mirror those of plasma. The extent of dietary influence upon salivary antioxidant status is unclear. Urate is the predominant salivary antioxidant, with albumin and ascorbate providing minor contributions. Previous research has found reduced salivary antioxidant activity in patients suffering from periodontal disease. An improved understanding of the role antioxidants play in periodontitis, and the influence of nutrition on antioxidant status, may lead to a possible nutritional strategy for the treatment of periodontal disease.

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