A chewing gum has been developed by a team of European researchers that will detect early stages of peri-implantitis to help prevent advanced bone loss. The gum will taste bitter in less than 5 minutes if a patient has inflammation around one or more dental implants. In patients with healthy implants, the flavor of the gum does not change.
The study reported in Nature Communications (August 15, 2017) used the saliva of 14 healthy patients and 19 patients with peri-implantitis. Within 5 minutes, the saliva from patients with peri-implantitis deteriorated the gum. The gum has been developed to specifically react with the protein-degrading enzymes present in the saliva of inflamed implants, followed by a release of a bitter tasting substance. Although this gum is not on the market, this will be a quick, easy, and affordable method to detect peri-implantitis outside the dental office. Further trials are being completed at this time.
This research can lead to other quick and affordable diagnostic methods to detect various forms of inflammation, bacterial and viral infections. Patients can then see their doctors/dentists to confirm the diagnosis and proceed with necessary treatment.