Chew Gum Test For Dental Implants

Occasionally people with dental implants face complications. It’s estimated that 6 – 15% of patients develop an inflammatory response caused by bacteria destroying the soft tissue and the bone around the implant in the worst case.

A team in Germany have been working on an easy solution for detecting inflammation early.  In future patients will be able to use a diagnostic chewing gum for a quick and affordable way to test if they are being affected by harmful bacteria. The chewing gum based diagnostic test is being developed by a pharmaceutical research team at the Julius-Maximilians-Universität (JMU) Würzburg in Bavaria, Germany.

So, How Does It Work?

If there is inflammation in the mouth, the gum will release a bitter tasting ingredient. Patients would then know that they should visit their dentist to confirm and treat the disease. Having an easy early detection test like this will help patients prevent serious complications such as bone loss and implant failure.

 The Geeky Details:

In the presence of inflammatory conditions, specific protein-degrading enzymes are activated in the mouth. In just five minutes, these enzymes also break down a special ingredient of the chewing gum, thereby releasing a bittering agent that could not be tasted before.

So When Can I Get It?

Hold your horses!  While Meinel's and his team plan to set up a company, the best guess it that it will take 2-3 years before their diagnostic chewing diagnostic gum is available to buy.

 Materials provided by Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg, JMUNote: Content may be edited for style and length.

Journal Reference:

1. J. Ritzer, T. Lühmann, C. Rode, M. Pein-Hackelbusch, I. Immohr, U. Schedler, T. Thiele, S. Stübinger, B. v. Rechenberg, J. Waser-Althaus, F. Schlottig, M. Merli, H. Dawe, M. Karpíšek, R. Wyrwa, M. Schnabelrauch, L. Meinel. Diagnosing peri-implant disease using the tongue as a 24/7 detectorNature Communications, 2017; 8 (1) DOI: 10.1038/s41467-017-00340-x