Low levels of a protein known as Del-1 may be the cause of gum diseases in older people according to a new study published in the journal Nature Immunology.
Researchers from the Queen Mary University of London conducted the study on a group of young and old mice and found that low levels of Del-1 in older mice led to severe gum disease and bone loss.
Del-1 has been found to make the immune system prevent white blood cells from sticking to and attacking the mouth tissue.
The researchers said that the problem can be easily solved by treating the patients with Del-1 protein which will reduce the number of white blood cells and improve bone loss. "Periodontitis is an extremely common problem and we know that the disease tends to be more common as we get older. This research sheds light on why ageing makes us more susceptible, and understanding this mechanism is the first step to an effective treatment", lead researcher Professor Mike Curtis said.