Researchers at a leading German university recommend patients use chewing gum to detect detrimental bacteria.

Scientists at the Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg discovered that 6 percent to 15 percent of patients develop an inflammatory response after dental implants are successfully placed. This is caused by bacteria in the mouth that can cause decay and other problems in the gum tissue and bones.

Unfortunately, this can compromise a previously-successful implant and lead to many other destructive problems. To protect the oral health of their patients, the research team set off to create a way to detect these bacteria early, before they have the opportunity to flourish and compromise the implant.

They managed to create a chewing gum that can detect the bacteria before a patient can notice it.

It's simple to use. This fast and affordable diagnostic test is chewed, like a normal chewing gum. If there are inflammation-causing bacteria in the patient's mouth, the gum will release a bittering agent, alerting them of the problem.

People who chew this gum and feel it suddenly go bitter will be aware there is detrimental bacteria in their mouths. The patients can then go to their dentist to seek further care and recommendations for treatment. Research tests with patients at Rimini's Merli Dental Clinic showed this idea works well and that patients are responsive to the findings.

The report and article about this milestone testing technique were recently published in the journal Nature Communications. The appeal of this diagnostic tool is its incredible affordability and ease-of-use, making it easier for less affluent patients to access.

Often, dental patients in lower economic classes are already at risk of higher rates of dental disease. This gum is an excellent way to prevent undetected bacteria from proliferating unknown to the patient.

The monetary savings from this gum go even further. Because harmful bacteria aren't usually detected before there is a noticeable problem, the mouth and gum tissue are left to other potential hazards. The risk of this is heightened post-oral surgery, especially when it comes to dental implants.

Commercialization and sale of this gum to the open market is expected to be achieved in two to three years. The Chair for Drug Formulation and Delivery at Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg, Dr. Lorenze Meinel gave a statement with Jennifer Ritzer, Ph.D., and her research team.

"Anyone can use this new diagnostic tool anywhere and anytime without any technical equipment." Meinel said. "We hope to be able to diagnose other diseases with our 'anyone, anywhere, anytime' diagnostics to identify and address these diseases as early as possible."