Researchers from Boston University School of Medicine have discovered that topical application of an ulcer drug to teeth may help prevent gum disease. Their findings appear in the April 2006 issue of the journal Infection and Immunity.
Periodontitis (gum disease) occurs when the bacterium Porphyromonas gingivalis accumulates on the tooth's surface causing inflammatory disease which leads to loss of connective tissue and bone. This disease affects tens of millions of people in the U.S. alone, emphasizing the importance of effective preventative care and treatment method.
Cimetidine is a powerful H2 receptor antagonist originally designed to treat ulcers by blocking the acid producing cells in the stomach. In the study three groups of rabbits were simultaneously induced with experimental periodontitis using P. gingivalis and treated with varying levels of topically applied cimetidine three times a week over a six-week period. Results showed that topical application of cimetidine at all concentrations inhibited inflammation and bone loss by approximately 90%.
"The findings of this study provide morphological and histological evidence that topically active cimetidine is a potent inhibitor of P. gingivalis-elicited periodontal inflammation, arresting and/or preventing tissue destruction and influencing cell populations present in the inflammatory cell infiltrate," say the researchers.
(H. Hasturk, A. Kantarci, N. Ebrahimi, C. Andry, M. Holick, V.L. Jones, T.E. Van Dyke. 2006. Topical H2 antagonist prevents periodontitis in a rabbit model. Infection and Immunity, 74. 4: 2402-2414.)
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Contact: Carrie Patterson
American Society for Microbiology