Dental Tribune USA

New research adds colour to gum disease detection

By Renee Cree, USA
April 16, 2009

Dentists at the Temple's Maurice H. Kornberg School of Dentistry in the United States have found that a simple colour-changing oral strip can help detect gum disease in a patient more quickly and easily than traditional screening methods.

According to lead researcher Ahmed Khocht, DDS, associate professor of periodontology, test results among 73 patients have shown a strong correlation between the patients with gum disease detected by traditional clinical evaluation methods and those detected with the oral strip, suggesting the strips would be a comparable screening method.

The colour reaction was scored based on a colour chart, and those scores were compared with scores from the plaque index, gingival index, attachment levels and bleeding on probing. "The strip changes from white to yellow depending on levels of microbial sulphur 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 periodontal disease 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 colour, they can also act as a benchmark to help doctors find the right treatment for their patient and monitor their progress."

(Edited by Daniel Zimmermann)

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