Gum Disease Potentially Treated by Powerful Pill

US scientists have developed a tiny plastic pill that they say can prevent tooth loss by treating gum disease.

"The pill sits between the threatened tooth and the diseased gum and releases drugs to relieve pain and swelling and fight plaque-causing bacteria. The plastic also serves as a barrier, enabling the damaged gum and bone to not only heal but regenerate. The State University of New Jersey team told the American Chemical Society that testing had already begun in animals. Human clinical trials may be two or more years away... The pill contains salicylic acid, the active ingredient in aspirin, for the swelling and discomfort, and three antimicrobials to fight the infection."

For those of us with teeth, that's good news.

I once endured removal of wisdom tooth without effective anaesthetic. For some reason, the local didn't take, and the dentist later told me this can happen to 1 in 4 million patients (I believe that was the statistic). Fortunately, this was a period in my life when I was meditating heavily, the dentist encouraged me to bring a CD with headphones, and the divine chant sent me into a rapturous state sufficient to create the kind of analgesia I needed.

(This is well-known phenomenon in hypnosis and acupuncture, though harder to create with a Walkman.)

Anyway, I'd now use the tiny pill if approved through clinical trials and medically necessary.

Notes the BBC: "Gum disease, or gingivitis, is swelling, soreness or infection of the gum tissue. Periodontal disease is when the infection becomes more severe and involves supporting bones surrounding the teeth as well as the gums. All gum disease is caused by the build-up of plaque. More teeth are lost through periodontal disease than through tooth decay. Daily brushing removes the plaque, helping to prevent and treat gum disease."

If you haven't learned that by your fourth decade, you'll probably learn the hard way. In that case, the tiny pill might be too late, as the adage about an ounce of prevention is probably mathematically correct.