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  C. Detecting Gum Disease Before It Starts

Narrator: This is Science Today. With just a prick of the finger, you can now find out if you’re carrying a gene related to the onset of periodontitis, a gum disease caused by plaque which effects 50 to 60 percent of the global population. Dr. Michael Newman, a periodontist at UCLA says dentists looking at plaque have never before been able to determine who would get gum disease.

Newman: Probably the most important factor of the disease is how the body responds to that plaque. And how the body responds to that plaque for the most part, is determined by our inheritance..our genetics.

Narrator: A gene which produces anti-inflammatory agents to fight off bacteria, can be detected by a simple finger-stick test and determine who’s at risk for gum disease.

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 treatment.

Narrator: For Science Today, I’m Larissa Branin