Probiotic gum reduces inflammation
The American Medical Association (AMA) is suing WellPoint, Aetna Health, and CIGNA — which all provide dental as well as medical insurance — alleging that they used a flawed database to reduce their reimbursement for out-of-network physicians, the organization has announced.
The AMA lawsuit follows on an investigation by New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo that concluded the Ingenix database “skewed ‘usual and customary’ rates downward through faulty buy dental cameras data collection, poor pooling procedures, and the lack of audits,” Cuomo’s office stated in a press release.
UnitedHealth, which created the database, had a conflict of interest because it is in the insurance business, Cuomo determined. UnitedHealth, Aetna, WellPoint, and CIGNA have agreed to fund an independent database to be operated by a nonprofit organization, according to Cuomo.
But the AMA and other medical associations still want the insurers to compensate them for past low reimbursements, the AMA said.
Gum PerioBalance, a chewing gum containing probiotic bacteria, appeared to ease gingivitis in a study reported in the Acta Odontologica Scandinavica (Vol. 67:1, pp. 19-24).
For the study, researchers from the University of Copenhagen, the Karolinska Institute, and Umeå University assigned 42 otherwise healthy adults with moderate gingivitis to one of three parallel arms bunsen burner. One group chewed gum containing 1x108CFU of 2 strands of Lactobacillus reuteri (ATCC 55730 and ATCC PTA 5289) every day for 2 weeks. This group also chewed a placebo gum every day.
The researchers measured the subjects’ bleeding on probing (BOP) and sampled their gingival crevicular fluid at baseline and after 1, 2, and 4 weeks. They measured the levels of the inflammatory mediators IL-1β, TNF-α, IL-6, IL-8, and IL-10 with luminex technology and multiplex immunoassay kits.
They found that BOP improved and crevicular volume decreased in all groups during the time that they chewed, but the changes were only statistically significant in the groups who chewed gum with the probiotic.
For the inflammatory mediators, the results were more mixed. The group that chewed only probiotic gum experienced a significant decline in TNF-α and IL-8 during the chewing period. IL-1β dipped a bit during this time as well, but the change wasn’t statistically significant. The gum didn’t affect the autoclave sterilizer levels of IL-6 and IL-10 in any of the groups.
Gum PerioBalance is made by BioGaia. It can be purchased through www.zetadental.com.auThe study was supported by grants from the Danish Dental Society, Tandlægernes Nye Landsforening, Västerbotten County Council, and BioGaia, Sweden.