The treatment of periodontal disease begins with the removal of sub-gingival calculus (tartar) and biofilm deposits. A dental hygienist procedure called scaling and root planing is the common first step in addressing periodontal problems, which seeks to remove calculus by mechanically scraping it from tooth surfaces.
Dental calculus, commonly known as tartar, consists almost entirely of calcium phosphate salt, the ionic derivative of calcium phosphate (the primary composition of teeth and bone). Dental calculus deposits harbor harmful bacteria. Clinically, calculus stuck to teeth appears to be hardened to the point requiring mechanical scraping for removal.
The bacteria responsible for most periodontal disease are anaerobic, and oxygenation reduces populations. Thorough brushing with dilute hydrogen peroxide, with emphasis on the gum line, and flossing, help prevent the formation of harmful biofilm, gingivitis, and tartar. Therapeutic mechanical delivery of H2O2 to subgingival pockets can be provided by a water pick. Wound "healing following gingival surgery was enhanced due to the antimicrobial effects of topically administered hydrogen peroxide". For most subjects, beneficial effects were seen with H2O2 levels above 1% though concentrations between 1% and 3% have been suggested, and commercial preparations contain 1.5% hydrogen peroxide.
Periodontal ligament stem cells (PDLSCs) have been found to be the most efficacious of three kinds of clinically tested dental tissue-derived stem cells, reports a study published in the current issue of Cell Transplantation (20:2), freely available on-line here.
According to researchers in Seoul, South Korea, transplantation of PDLSCs into beagle dogs modeled with advanced periodontal (gum) disease that affected their premolars and molars, which are morphologically similar to the corresponding areas in human dentition, was most effective. PDLSCs showed the best regenerating capacity of the periodontal ligament (which attaches the tooth to the alveolar bone in which the teeth sit), alveolar bone, cementum (material that comprises the surface of a tooth's root), peripheral nerve and blood vessels when compared to similar transplants using dental pulp stem cells (taken from the center of teeth) or periapical follicular stem cells (taken from the developing root).
"This study highlights the diverse sources of stem cells available in the tissues of the body for repair and how the optimal cell type for possible treatments needs to be determined - in this case for the treatment of dental-related disorders such as gum disease" said Dr. Paul Sanberg, coeditor-in-chief of Cell Transplantation and executive director of the University of South Florida Center of Excellence for Aging and Brain Repair.