Ask the Dentist: New plaster a breakthrough therapy for treatment of mouth ulcers

Lucy Stock, Dentist at Gentle Dental Care, Belfast says a new type of plaster may provide relief for mouth ulcer sufferers

Many people are plagued by recurrent bouts of mouth ulcers
Lucy Stock

FINALLY, some relief for mouth-ulcer sufferers. A plaster which can actually stick to the inside of your mouth is revolutionising the treatment of painful recurring ulcers.

Scientists from the University of Sheffield's School of Clinical Dentistry, working in close collaboration with Dermtreat A/S from Copenhagen, have developed a unique plaster using special polymers which are able to stick to moist surfaces. The patch allows steroids to ooze directly on to oral ulcers and other mouth lesions while also creating a protective barrier around the affected area, speeding up the healing process.

The novel plaster is a breakthrough therapy for the treatment of mouth conditions such as oral lichen planus (OLP) and mouth ulcers which are diseases that cause painful lesions and affect 1-2 per cent of the population.

Oral lichen planus is a chronic inflammatory condition that affects the soft tissues inside your mouth. OLP may appear as white, lacy patches; red, swollen tissues; or open sores. These lesions can cause burning, pain and other discomfort.

Mouth ulcers are small but pack a punch. Speaking, eating and even just moving your tongue can send shooting pains from an ulcer. Many people are plagued by recurrent bouts of ulcers. In the UK there are about 1.5 million people over 15 years old suffering from recurring mouth ulcers with more than two forming each month.

Current treatments consist of using steroids in the form of mouthwashes, creams or ointments, but these are often ineffective as the drug is washed away so quickly by saliva.

However, the biodegradable Rivelin® patch, has a long sticking time and a high flexibility which is ideal for the mobile surfaces inside the mouth.

Dr Craig Murdoch, Reader in Oral Bioscience at the University of Sheffield's School of Clinical Dentistry and lead author of the research, said: “Chronic inflammatory conditions such as OLP and mouth ulcers, which cause erosive and painful oral lesions, have a considerable impact on quality of life.

“The patch acts like a plaster inside your mouth, which means it is very effective at directly targeting the specific area as well as forming a protective barrier.

“Patients who have trialled the patch found it to be very comfortable to wear and they were really pleased with the length of adhesion which makes it particularly effective and efficient.”

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