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Science: New chewing gum can detect mouth sores


Chewing gum as a quick test for inflammation?
Chewing gums are especially popular for refreshing the breath. A research team from the Julius Maximilians University in Würzburg, however, has now developed a chewing gum that can do much more than inhibit bad breath. With the help of chewing gum, inflammation in the mouth can be recognized early in patients with a dental implant.

Chewing gums, which provide fresh breath and support dental care, are used by many people. The use as a diagnostic tool for inflammation, however, is a revolutionary novelty. With the help of the developed chewing gum, the inflammation can be discovered early and serious consequential damage can be prevented. The scientists presented their new development in the renowned specialist journal "Nature Communications".

Inflammation can destroy the bone
Complications in the form of severe inflammation sometimes occur in patients with dental implants. Around six to fifteen percent of the patients were affected by the inflammation caused by bacteria in the years after the implant was placed, which in the worst case would destroy the soft tissue and bones surrounding the implant, the scientists at Julius Maximilians University report Wurzburg.

Bacterial inflammation easily detectable with the chewing gum
According to the University of Würzburg, the newly developed rapid chewing gum test will quickly and inexpensively determine whether such bacterial inflammation is developing in the mouth. The research team around Professor Lorenz Meinel and Dr. Jennifer Ritzer from the University of Würzburg has developed the new diagnostic tool and plans to launch it within the next few years.

Bitter taste indicates inflammation
The experts explain the function of the chewing gum as follows. When the chewing gum is chewed, a bitter taste is released if there is an inflammation. Those affected perceive this with the tongue and can then go to their dentist, who will confirm the diagnosis and initiate treatment of the inflammation, if necessary. This type of early detection can help prevent serious complications such as bone loss, the scientists explain.

Chewing gum rapid test successfully tested in initial studies
According to the researchers, the function of the chewing gum is based on specific protein-degrading enzymes, which are activated in the mouth when there is inflammation and break down a special ingredient of the chewing gum within only five minutes. This releases a bitter substance that could not be tasted before. The first studies with the saliva of patients have already been successfully carried out. "Everyone can use this new diagnostic system anywhere and at any time and without technical equipment," says Professor Lorenz Meinel, emphasizing the advantages of chewing gum.

According to the experts, further rapid chewing gum tests for other medical applications are already in development and there is hope that "other diseases can also be addressed and treated as early as possible," said Prof. Meinel. (fp)

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