Scientists trying to develop an early, non-invasive test for gum disease are debating about a little-known fluid produced in tiny amounts in the gums, those tough pink tissues that hold the teeth in place.
It's not saliva, a quart of which people produce each day, but gingival crevicular fluid (GCF), produced at the rate of millionths of a quart per tooth. The study, the most comprehensive analysis of GCF to date, appears in ACS' monthly Journal of Proteome Research.
Eric Reynolds and colleagues note that GCF accumulates at sites of inflammation in the crevice between teeth and gums. Since dental workers can easily collect the fluid from patients, GCF has become a prime candidate for a simple inexpensive test to distinguish mild gum disease from the serious form that leads to tooth loss. But researchers have little information about the chemical composition of GCF.