A New Type of Chewing Gum Can Detect Mouth Infections

August 26, 2017 News, General Dentistry, News

A new innovative type of chewing gum that reacts to infections in your mouth could help to diagnose dental infections, and reduce the number of repeat trips to the dentist you may need.

The gum works through the use of a chemical known as denatonium, which tastes very bitter when it reacts with certain enzymes released in the mouth whenever you have a bacterial infection. Denatonium is also used in certain kinds of nail polish, intended to stop children from biting their nails with a bitter but ultimately harmless taste.

The invention, described in the journal Nature Communication, is claimed by research leader Professor Lorenz Meinel of Julius-Maximilians-Universität (JMU) in Würzburg, Germany to be usable by “anyone” at “anytime without any technical equipment”.

The treatment could be of particular benefit to those who currently have dental implants fitted, which have a higher risk of bacterial infection and for whom dental visits are more frequent.

The research is expected to continue, to expand the scope of diagnosis that these chewing gum-based solutions could be used to detect other illnesses and the cause of ill health. An example Professor Meinel says is that a gum is being worked on that can detect whether a sore throat is being caused by a bacteria or by the flu virus, which could if widely rolled out be used to reduce the use of antibiotics, something that could prove vital given the increase of drug-resistant “superbugs” such as MRSA.