Researchers developing topical gel that fights gum disease



Researchers from the NYU College of Dentistry have developed a topical gel to help treat and prevent periodontal (gum) disease. In experiments in mice, the gel reduced inflammation, and bone loss by 50%. Scientists hope to bring the product to market as both a gel and oral strip people can use at home.

Gum disease — clinically known as periodontal diseaseTrusted Source or periodontitis — affects almost half of all adultsTrusted Source ages 30 years or older.

Common treatments for periodontal disease include scalingTrusted Source, where a dentist cleans teeth below the gum surface, antibiotic medications, and surgical options. Now, researchers from the NYU College of Dentistry have devised a less invasive treatment option for gum disease in a topical gel.

This study was recently published in the journal Cell ReportsTrusted Source. When you breathe, talk, and eat, bacteria and food particles enter your mouth and can cling to your teeth. Regularly brushing and flossing your teeth helps remove them so they do not cause any health issues.

If not cleaned out, these bacteria and food particles remain on your teeth forming a sticky white substance called plaqueTrusted Source. Is not removed through regular brushing or annual cleanings at the dentist, plaque can harden into darker-looking tartar — a substance on teeth that regular brushing cannot remove. Build up of plaque and tartar on your teeth can irritate your gums, causing infection. Symptoms of gum disease include:

Research links gum disease to other conditions as well, including an increased risk for heart attack and strokeTrusted Source, erectile dysfunction, and poor cognitive functionTrusted Source. And a study in 2008 linked periodontal disease to an increased risk for certain cancersTrusted Source in men.

Following good oral hygiene habits is the best way to prevent gum disease. However, some people are more prone to periodontitis, such as tobacco usersTrusted Source. Some people are genetically at a higher riskTrusted Source for developing gum disease. And some medications, such as steroidsTrusted Source and oral contraceptivesTrusted Source, are risk factors for periodontal disease. In order to fully remove plaque and tartar buildup causing gum disease, a dentist normally performs deep dental cleaning techniques, including scaling and root planingTrusted Source.

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