A groundbreaking aqueous lubricant technology, developed by scientists at the University of Leeds, has the potential to revolutionize the treatment of dry mouth, a condition that affects millions of people worldwide. Laboratory tests have shown that this novel saliva substitute is between four and five times more effective than existing commercially available products in providing long-lasting relief.
The key to the effectiveness of this saliva substitute lies in its unique composition and mode of action. The substance, known as a microgel, forms a lattice-like network or sponge that binds onto the surface of the mouth, delivering exceptional hydration and acting as a lubricant during the process of chewing. Surrounding the microgel is a polysaccharide-based hydrogel that acts as a water trap, ensuring prolonged hydration.
Unlike many commercial products currently on the market, which require frequent reapplication and provide only short-term relief, this saliva substitute exhibits a longer-lasting effect due to its ability to bind to the surface of the mouth. This revolutionary technology has the potential to significantly improve the quality of life for individuals suffering from dry mouth.
In laboratory tests comparing the new saliva substitute with eight commercially available products, including popular brands such as Biotene and Saliveze, the Leeds product demonstrated superior performance. While the commercially available products experienced substantial desorption (lubricant loss) ranging from 23% to 58%, the Leeds saliva substitute exhibited a minimal desorption rate of just 7%. The dairy protein-based version of the substitute slightly outperformed the vegan potato protein-based alternative.
The results of these benchmark tests provide compelling evidence that the newly developed saliva substitute is highly likely to be more effective under real-world conditions, offering relief up to five times longer than existing products. Furthermore, the substance is composed of non-toxic and non-caloric materials, specifically dairy and plant proteins and carbohydrates, making it safe for long-term use.
The University of Leeds scientists are optimistic that these promising results will be replicated in human trials. The team is actively working towards translating the lubricant technology into commercially available products, aiming to alleviate the difficulties faced by individuals with dry mouth conditions, particularly those with severe cases that can lead to swallowing difficulties, malnutrition, and dental problems.
1. What is dry mouth or xerostomia?
Dry mouth, medically known as xerostomia, is a common condition characterized by a lack of saliva production, affecting approximately one in ten individuals. It is more prevalent among older people, individuals undergoing cancer treatment, and those taking multiple medications.
2. How does the novel saliva substitute work?
The saliva substitute developed by scientists at the University of Leeds is a microgel-reinforced hydrogel-based aqueous lubricant. The microgel forms a lattice-like network or sponge that binds to the surface of the mouth, mimicking the hydration and lubrication properties of natural saliva. This technology ensures long-lasting relief for individuals with dry mouth.
3. How does the new saliva substitute compare to existing products?
Laboratory tests have shown that the novel saliva substitute is between four and five times more effective than currently available commercial products. Its ability to bind to the surface of the mouth significantly reduces the need for frequent reapplication, ensuring prolonged relief and improving quality of life.
4. Is the saliva substitute safe for use?
Yes, the substances used in the production of the saliva substitute, including dairy and plant proteins and carbohydrates, are non-toxic to humans and non-caloric. The formulation of the substitute prioritizes safety and long-term use.