Someday, people may address their food allergies simply by brushing their teeth. A New York City-based company launched a trial to begin testing this concept on a small group of people who are allergic to peanuts. The idea is to expose users to small doses of an allergen every day, in order to develop and maintain tolerance to it.
Tying this treatment into a daily routine should help allergy sufferers keep up with regular treatment, say the researchers, who developed the toothpaste. The product may also do a better job than existing therapies of delivering the active ingredients in those treatments to immune cells throughout the mouth.
An existing treatment, oral immunotherapy, also exposes patients to small amounts of their allergen through daily doses ingested as food. However, treatment can trigger allergic reactions, and hard-earned tolerance often wanes without continued maintenance dosing.
A milder treatment, known as sublingual immunotherapy, which instead administers smaller doses through liquid drops under the tongue, offers decent protection while causing fewer side effects, and can be especially effective with allergies that are detected early. Mouth drops produce even stronger and longer lasting benefits in young children than in older children.
Still, it can be difficult for patients to keep up with this daily therapy. Furthermore, the immune cells thought to be the best targets are actually denser inside the cheeks and in other parts of the mouth, not just under the tongue. The just-launched clinical trial of toothpaste designed to treat peanut allergy will enroll 32 peanut-allergic adults to test how well they tolerate increasing doses.
We hope it will be successful in providing more options to the world and little by little ensuring well-being and counteracting any possible disease in the long term. What do you think?