A healthy color: Testing for gum disease

Apr 10, 2009

Researchers at Temple University Maurice H. Kornberg School of Dentistry found that a color-changing oral strip is as effective in detecting periodontal disease as traditional methods, and is easier and less costly to administer.

About 80 percent of adults suffer from some form of periodontal, or , which can result in not just , but has also been linked to heart disease, diabetes, , low birth-weight babies, cancer and most recently, obesity.

Screening for the disease is often costly, time-consuming and sometimes painful for the patient. But researchers at Temple University have found that a simple color-changing oral strip can help detect gum disease in a patient more quickly and easily than traditional screening methods.

Lead researcher Ahmed Khocht, DDS, associate professor of periodontology at Temple's Maurice H. Kornberg School of Dentistry, and his team looked at the strip's effectiveness in detecting periodontal disease among 73 patients divided into three groups: healthy, those with gingivitis (bleeding of the gums) and those with periodontitis (bleeding of the gums and a receding gum line). Color reaction was scored based on a color chart, and those scores were compared with scores from traditional clinical evaluation methods such as plaque index, gingival index, attachment levels and bleeding on probing.

Researchers found strong correlations between the numbers from these tests and the numbers from the oral strip, suggesting the strips would be a comparable screening method.

"The strip changes from white to yellow depending on levels of microbial sulfur compounds found in the saliva," said Khocht. "A higher concentration of these compounds means a more serious case of gum disease, and shows up a darker shade of yellow."

Because can affect a person's overall health, Khocht says it's important to have a screening method like the oral strips that are quick and easy for clinicians to use.

"The faster we can find out the disease is present, the sooner we can begin treatment," he said. "And because the strips can change color, they can also act as a benchmark to help doctors find the right treatment for their patient and monitor their progress."

Source: Temple University

Explore further: Haiti cholera outbreak kills 132 in 2014

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Periodontal diseases are blind to age

Jun 12, 2007

Two new studies in the June issue of the Journal of Periodontology (JOP) suggest that periodontal diseases are a threat to women of all ages due to hormonal fluctuations that occur at various stages of their lives.

Maintaining healthy teeth and gums is a wise investment

Feb 06, 2009

Faced with plummeting investments and an unsteady job market, many Americans are feeling the effects of the recent economic crisis. In fact, a recent study by the American Psychological Association found that over 80 percent ...

Smoking is a major cause of gum disease: study

Apr 30, 2008

Almost a third of the more than two million cases of gum disease among Australians are caused by smoking, according to research by University of Adelaide researchers in the Australian Research Centre for Population ...

Recommended for you

Ebola vaccine promising in first human trials

10 hours ago

Researchers say they are one step closer to developing an Ebola vaccine, with a Phase 1 trial showing promising results, but it will be months at the earliest before it can be used in the field.

At one month, US Ebola monitors finding no cases

13 hours ago

The U.S. program that requires weeks of monitoring for travelers from African countries with Ebola reaches the one-month mark Thursday. And so far, no cases of the disease have turned up.

EU calls for 5,000 doctors to fight Ebola

14 hours ago

The European Commission called for 5,000 doctors to be sent from EU states to combat west Africa's Ebola epidemic, a European source with knowledge of the matter said on Wednesday.

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.