“Researchers at University of Louisville School of Dentistry have learned that a common bacteria of the mouth, P. gingivalis, may be circumventing the body’s immune system by “tricking” white blood cells and then hijacking the cells to ensure its own survival.

The finding is important because P. gingivalis is a leading cause of periodontal diseases, a proven contributor to the destruction of gum, bone and teeth. The bacteria is also believed to play a role in heart disease, stroke and other serious health problems.

UofL associate professor George Hajishengallis found that P. gingivalis uses a receptor, CR3, on the bacteria-eating white blood cells of our immune system to circumvent the body’s defenses and flourish in dental plaque.”

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