Chewing Gum May Soon Prevent Oral Inflammation

Dental implants and other types of surgery may cause complications, the most common of which is an oral inflammation. This, in turn, can lead to other problems such as infections and bone loss. The good news is oral inflammation may soon be a less common problem if not a thing of the past. Dentists and researchers in Germany are now working on a new product that could detect the presence of a bacteria that causes the inflammation before undertaking any surgery.

Dental Implants Statistics

Statistics show that over 35 million Americans are missing teeth in one or both jaws. Of this number, 15 million Americans have crowns or bridge replacements for teeth that are broken or missing. It is estimated that by the age of 50, the average American has lost 12 teeth including wisdoms. There are 3 million implants in a year and this number is estimated to grow at half a million annually. Implants performed by dentists are increasing with the combined US and European market estimated to grow $4.2 billion by 2022. Dental implant companies and manufacturers are also part of this burgeoning industry.

Risks of Implants

Like any other type of surgery, dental implants carry risks and side effects that can happen in the years after the operation has been carried out. For many, inflammation at the implant site is a major side effect. Surgery can also damage surrounding teeth, nerves and blood vessels. It causes pain or may give a numb or tingling sensation. Dental implants positioned in the upper jaw may stick out of the sinus cavities giving patients sinus problems. In about 6-15% of patients who develop a negative response after an implant, the main culprit is bacteria that attacks the soft tissue and bone surrounding the site.

Preparing for Dental Implant Surgery

An implant surgery requires an extensive dental exam including x-rays and impressions are taken of the mouth and teeth. It also demands a massive treatment plan to consider the broken or missing teeth that need replacement. Dental implants are usually performed by visiting a dental clinic or reputable center.

Early Detection of an Oral Cavity

To avoid lengthy tests to determine whether a patient carries this type of bacteria or not, researchers at the Julius-Maximilians-Universitat (JMU) Wurzburg in Bavaria, Germany have developed a diagnostic test using chewing gum to quickly detect its presence in the mouth. This is a quicker and affordable test that benefits patients who intend to receive dental implants. More importantly, the test aims to prevent serious complications due to surgery such as bone loss. If a patient tested positive for an inflammation in the mouth, they can be treated before undergoing surgery reducing the chances of complications later.

It is estimated that the chewing gum test will be available on a commercial scale two-three years from now. Researchers are also hoping to use these tests for other medical applications. If successful, a simple and affordable diagnostic tool will be able to detect diseases early.