If you are suffering from chronic dry mouth, Sjögren's Syndrome might be the culprit. This condition involves ulcers inside of the mouth that can damage the salivary glands and tear ducts, and the end result is a mouth that is constantly dry. Since the saliva is an important part in preventing the bacteria in your mouth from causing tooth decay and infection, a lack of saliva can be detrimental to your oral health.
Fortunately, there is research being done about potential treatment methods for dry mouth with some surprising sources - silk worms.
About the Study The University of Texas Health Science Center has been conducting studies about how to regrow the salivary glands. One technology that they are working on involves the use of silk from the cocoons of silkworms along with stem cells.
The results are still in their preliminary stages, but if this type of tissue engineering was successful, it could help millions of people suffering from dry mouth due to major conditions, including Sjögren's Syndrome and those going through chemotherapy due to neck and head cancers.
The idea that you could potentially regrow salivary glands is a fairly new concept, and it has only recently been discovered that the small silk sack produced by a silkworm can actually help with salivary gland production.
So far, the team has been able to use the process for rat salivary glands, but it is thought that the process could be used for humans within the next several years.
Good News for Sjögren's Syndrome Patients
Currently, about 1.2% of people in the U.S. are affected by Sjögren's Syndrome, and the autoimmune disease attacks moisture-producing glands like the salivary glands.
Advances in medicine and dentistry can change the way that people are treated for this condition, so if it has been awhile since you've seen a dentist, schedule your appointment today.