Some dentists recommend that their patients chew gum because it helps to encourage saliva production, thereby protecting teeth from bacteria. Plus, people love gum because it tastes good and gives their mouth something to do. Some types of gum can even help to whiten teeth. However, it may not be long before everyone’s favorite mouth-occupier gets even better. Researchers are working on a special type of chewing gum that will be able to detect oral inflammation. How will it work?
An Early Warning System for Oral Inflammation
Certain types of bacteria are linked with inflammation. If the gum encounters those bacteria, it will use enzymes to release a bittering agent, letting the chewer know right away that there is a problem. After you detect that icky taste in your mouth, you can head to your dentist and get a confirmation for the diagnosis.
This exciting development in the world of dentistry may help to provide an early detection system for problems with oral health. It may allow patients to seek medical attention before an issue reaches the point where it is severe enough to require painful or extensive treatment. Plus, it will be affordable and quick — two things that everyone loves!
The gum will be especially helpful to people who have dental implants because implants occasionally cause an inflammatory response. It’s rare, but the complications from such a situation can cause serious problems for a patient’s jawbone and the surrounding soft tissue.
When Will It Be Available?
Researchers are still working on the gum, but if all goes well, it may become commercially available within the next two to three years. The lead researcher’s team plans to eventually set up a company that will distribute the chewing gum. They hope to expand their work and create even more types of chewing gum that use enzymes to alert people to the presence of a range of medical conditions.
In the meantime, however, you’ll have to use old-fashioned ways to take care of your oral health. Some signs of inflammation that you should be on the lookout for include:
- Loss of function
You can also do your best to prevent inflammation by keeping up good oral hygiene habits. Brush daily and floss every day. Also, be sure to visit your dentist at least twice a year. They may be able to spot signs of inflammation before you notice any symptoms. Be especially diligent if you have implants since you want them to last a lifetime.
Who would have ever guessed that chewing gum could become a medical diagnostic tool? The future of dentistry certain holds some interesting developments!
About Monarch Dentistry
Drs. Neil Flenniken and Suzan Rismani-Flenniken compose your team of dentists at Monarch Dentistry. They happily and passionately strive to make sure that all their patients have healthy, beautiful smiles, and they strive to keep up with all the latest developments in dentistry. If you have any concerns about oral health, reach out to our office at 703-714-7374.