Amazingly a chewing gum that will hopefully prevent and treat certain head and neck cancers is in development. Dr. Cherie-Ann Nathan who is the chair of Otolaryngology at LSU School of Medicine has been working with a medicinal chemist to perfect the gum. As a Cosmetic Dentist, whose office screens for pre-cancerous lesions, this a huge development.
The important ingredient which is cancer-fighting is Curcumin, which is found in the spice tumeric. The issue in developing this product is that curcumin is not well absorbed by the stomach and Dr. Nathan’s gum bypasses the stomach by allowing direct absorption through the mucosal tissues in the mouth.
I am hopeful this product continues to develop successfully as oral cancers are so deadly and tragic. Our office provides cancer screenings for our patients and perhaps one day we will provide gum as a preventive measure! This may even open more doors for preventive dentistry to fight gum disease and decay and perhaps other medical issues too.