Dentistry professor continues research to fight gum disease, associated conditions

S. Esra Sahingur, D.D.S., Ph.D., associate professor in the Department of Periodontics, Virginia Commonwealth University School of Dentistry

Sinem Esra Sahingur, D.D.S., Ph.D., has received a five-year, $1.9 million National Institutes of Health grant to study the cause of periodontitis, which is the inflammation of gums that can lead to tooth loss and additional health complications if not treated.

“Nearly half of all adults in the United States suffer from periodontal diseases and … almost 10 percent of that group exhibits severe forms of the diseases which cannot be controlled or treated using currently available treatment protocols,” said Sahingur, who is an associate professor in the Department of Periodontics, Virginia Commonwealth University School of Dentistry.

“Chronic oral inflammation eventually results in tooth loss and can raise the risk for several systemic conditions such as cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, pregnancy complications, arthritis and cancer. Identification of new preventive and therapeutic options to control persistent inflammation within the oral cavity is therefore crucial for better oral and systemic health,” she said.

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