Narrator: This is Science Today. In case you need another good to reason to floss your teeth, it now appears severe gum disease may play a role in strokes. One way to combat this, is to know who is most susceptible to plaque-causing gum disease. And that's just what UCLA periodontist, Dr. Michael Newman has done with a genetic marker in the form of a finger stick test.
Newman: Up until now, dentists had no way of looking into the crystal ball to determine who was going to be severe and who wasn't. They could sort of, but it wasn't very accurate. Now, with this objective test, dentists and patients can immediately know whether they're at high risk or low risk of getting disease.
Narrator: A gene, which produces anti-inflammatory agents to fight off bacteria, can be detected by this test.
Newman: And having that knowledge allows everybody to focus the most appropriate treatment for that individual's own needs, rather than generalizing by giving either too much treatment or too little.
Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.