South Korean dentist obtains patent for toothpaste
Moon Hyung-joo has developed a toothpaste formula that successfully kills a life-threatening bacterium
By Lee Kyung-min
Recent studies show oral diseases can affect the health of not only the mouth but also the whole body. It is also known that a bacterium, Streptococcus gordonii, can cause blood clots and trigger life-threatening endocarditis, or inflammation of the heart.
Moon Hyung-joo, a dentist and head of Moon Dental Hospital in northern Seoul, has obtained a patent from the Korean Intellectual Property Office (KIPO) for a toothpaste he developed, which is effective in killing the bacterium.
The toothpaste contains ingredients that are effective in detoxification and inflammation treatment. It has a mixture of neem oil and castor oil, combined with herbal extracts made from psyllium seed, Japanese star anise, trichosanthes seed, anemarrhena and Japanese cornelian cherry.
“Unlike most other toothpastes that use artificial chemical preservatives, this toothpaste is only composed of natural, organic compounds, which greatly reduces the risk of side effects,” Moon said.
Using natural toothpaste is important, as the oral mucosa, which is far thinner than the skin, is more susceptible to absorbing harmful substances into the body, he added.
“People nowadays pay great attention to the ingredients of cosmetic products and food because they care what they are putting into their bodies. Toothpaste is not an exception,” he said.
Through tests by his patients, Moon said he confirmed his toothpaste also helps relieve inflammation as well as treat sore gums and aching teeth.
“I hope my toothpaste with more health advantages will offer more options to consumers concerned with dental health,” he said.
Dental health management for quality life
The idea for the new toothpaste came after a joint study by the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland and the University of Bristol in 2014 that Streptococcus gordonii can get into the bloodstream through bleeding gums.
According to the study, once making its way into the bloodstream, the bacterium causes blood clots because it activates platelets, the blood cells that help clotting. Due to the clots, the heart valves grow larger, blocking effective blood supply to the heart or brain, which can result in heart disease, a heart attack or stroke. The bacterium also protects itself from the natural immune system and antibiotics, according to Moon.
But he said that toothpaste developers so far have only concentrated on killing two major bacteria commonly found in the oral cavity - Streptococcus mutans and Porphyromonas gingivalis - which are known to cause tooth decay and periodontal disease, respectively.
“Endocarditis is a serious disease treated only by surgery or strong antibiotics, which is becoming more difficult due to growing antibiotic resistance. Considering this, using my toothpaste will reduce the risks potentially caused by the bacterium. All it takes is simply brushing teeth with it,” Moon said.
The toothpaste has not yet hit the market, and Moon is preparing for it.
Although people have been healthy in their young age, dental health is never to be overlooked, as it greatly affects the quality of health later in life, Moon added.
“I hear old patients saying all the time that nothing is more annoying than oral pain caused by weak gums and tooth loss. Brush your teeth every day and visit your dentist regularly.”
His study on dental occlusion, jaw joints and the muscles that control jaw movement, and general body health was published in 2011 in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine.