AUGUSTA, Ga. A clinical trial using an all-natural lozenge to treat dry mouth, a condition that impacts 40 percent of American adults, is under way at Georgia Health Sciences University College of Dental Medicine.
"These patients' mouths are as dry as if you've closed the faucet, and we want to turn that faucet back on," said Dr. Stephen Hsu, Molecular and Cell Biologist and co-investigator of the study. "The cells and glands that produce saliva are still there, they're just not working."
Through previous animal studies and human sample testing, GHSU researchers found that dry mouth involves salivary gland inflammation, fewer antioxidants and elevated markers for abnormal growth and DNA damage caused by free radicals. Powerful antioxidants in green tea, called polyphenols, reduce that damage to the salivary gland.
"With green tea polyphenols, we have an agent that's helping to correct the salivary gland's abnormal behavior," said Dr. Douglas Dickinson, Associate Professor in the Department of Oral Biology and co-investigator.
The team formulated an all-natural lozenge containing green tea polyphenols, xylitol and jaborandi leaf extract, a plant used in South and Central America to promote saliva production. The lozenge offers a slow, extended release only in the mouth, not the systemic effect caused by prescription dry-mouth medication, which can prompt side effects such as diarrhea and excessive sweating, said Dr. Scott De Rossi, Chairman of the Department of Oral Health and Diagnostic Sciences and principal investigator.
Sixty patients will be followed during the eight week trial, with half taking the lozenge and half taking a placebo. The four daily doses of the lozenge taken during the trial are equivalent to drinking four or five cups of green tea, which benefits overall health, the researchers added.
"I think the promise here is that patients are going to feel better and we're going to see some improv
|Contact: Paula Hinely|
Georgia Health Sciences University