A chewing gum that can detect peri-implant disease was described in Nature Communications in August.1

Lorenz Meinel and colleagues developed a biosensor for detecting peri-implant disease that produces a bitter taste to indicate a positive diagnosis. They bound the sensor to another compound and embedded it into a chewing gum, which is tasteless in healthy patients. However, the occurrence of peri-implant disease increases the production of specific enzymes that can cleave the biosensor and release the strong bitter compound. An 'artificial tongue' was used that can detect the bitter compound to distinguish between saliva samples from patients with peri-implant disease and asymptomatic volunteers.

Although the chewing gum has yet to be tested on volunteers in a clinical setting, it could remove the need for complex kits and expert intervention at the point of diagnosis. The authors suggest that in the future, the gum may be used in dental practices or for personal use by patients.