As people get older they may notice that their teeth and gums aren't exactly in the same condition as they were when they were young.
While much of this is often down to general wear and tear, some oral problems that occur in older adults are not as easy to explain away.
Researchers from Queen Mary, University of London believe, however, that they may have found the answer as to why gum disease becomes more common with age.
According to the study, gum deterioration is associated with a drop in the level of the chemical Del-1, which is known to keep the immune system in check.
Del-1 is vital to prevent white blood cells from attacking mouth tissue and low levels will lead to gum disease.
However, researchers have called for further investigations to be made to properly understand the effects of Del-1 on the immune system and how it can be used to treat and prevent oral problems in older adults.
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