Your toothpaste can fight against lung disease. An antibacterial substance in toothpaste may prevent severe lung disease. A study conducted by the Michigan State University, revealed that an antibacterial substance in toothpaste can fight against life-threatening diseases like cystic fibrosis (CF), when combined with an FDA-approved drug.
The researchers found that when triclosan, a substance that prevents bacterial growth, is combined with the antibiotic tobramycin, it destroys the cells that help growth of bacteria called Pseudomonas aeruginosa.
CF is a genetic disease which is difficult to diagnose at an early age. It leads to the formation of thick mucus in the lungs, which promotes bacterial growth. These bacteria are difficult to kill as they are protected by a biofilm, which allows the disease to grow even when treated with antibiotics.
Antibacterial Properties of Triclosan-An Active Substance in Toothpaste
According to the study, there are many biofilm-related infections such as ear infections and painful gums that are caused by gingivitis. Some fatal diseases are as severe as CF, such as endocarditis, heart inflammation, and infectionToothpastes caused due to artificial hip and pacemaker implants.
The study researchers grew around 6,000 biofilms and later added in tobramycin along with several different compounds, to know what worked better at killing bacteria. They found that triclosan alone cannot effectively kill Pseudomonas aeruginosa. They also observed that the combination of triclosan and tobramycin gave best result.
Triclosan is a common ingredient used in makeup, soaps, and many other commercial products due to its antibacterial properties. Recently, the United States Food and Drug Administration suggested limit the use of this substance in hand sanitizers and soaps due to lack of sufficient data on its effectiveness. There is a clear evidence that its use in toothpaste highly effective in combatting gingivitis.
The study co-author Michael Maiden said that limiting the use of the chemical was the right decision. It is important to avoid developing resistance to a substance so when it’s used in numerous products, the chances of developing resistance increase. Today, it is widely used in the treatment of CF, but it doesn’t prevent lung infections. Patients generally inhale the drug, yet find themselves prone to infection, finally needing a lung transplant.
Most transplants are not a safe option though for these patients and people who have a transplant see a fifty percent failure rate within 5 years. Another issue is that tobramycin can be toxic. Common side effects associated with the drug include hearing loss and kidney toxicity.
So, only brushing your teeth with toothpaste containing triclosan will not help to prevent lung infections. The researchers also confirmed that they are trying to get this therapy approved in order to provide a new treatment option for CF patients.
The study was published in the journal Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy.