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The Military Medicine Technology

US Army Develops Tooth Cleaning Gum 160

Posted by samzenpus
from the forget-the-brush dept.
pryoplasm writes "To help deal with some of the hygiene issues on the battlefield, the US Army worked on a gum to take the place of brushing your teeth. This might be eventually released and marketed to the public. While there are many gums out there that aren't so detrimental to your teeth, this one promises actually to help them out."
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US Army Develops Tooth Cleaning Gum

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  • by nikomo (1338131) on Thursday November 11, 2010 @12:46AM (#34193440)
    As a proud xylitol-chewing Finn, this would really help.
    • It's not just a sugar free gum, it apparently contains a protein that actively kills bacteria.

      Besides, artificial sweeters are bad for you. I've just stopped chewing gum altogether..

      • "Besides, artificial sweeters [sic] are bad for you."

        You overgeneralize.

        Inositol looks, tastes, and feels like table sugar, although perhaps not as sweet. It is not only not harmful, it is beneficial enough that it was once considered a B-vitamin.

        • I wouldn't call it artificial though, it's present naturally in foods and even produced in body apparently.

          It's the chemicals that we haven't evolved to ingest with that I'm worried about.

  • Sugarless gum??!? (Score:4, Informative)

    by BWJones (18351) * on Thursday November 11, 2010 @12:47AM (#34193442) Homepage Journal

    Hey, I thought thats what sugarless gum has been used for..... years now? Wonder what this development cost the military/US govt?

    • Hey, I thought thats what sugarless gum has been used for..... years now? Wonder what this development cost the military/US govt?

      Maybe it works, you know, better than sugarless gum?

      • by BWJones (18351) *

        I'd love to see the dose-response curves for their protein fragment, KSL vs. something like Xylitol. If it works better, great. If not, Xylitol is cheap and it works.

        • Odds are it doesn't. I find most things are worse than what we already have, and if those bonehead scientists took 5 seconds to ask someone they'd know that. That's my world view of course, as all I know is only going by what I read on /.

          • all I know is only going by what I read on /.

            No wonder you're so cheerfully optimistic.

            • Its true. If you look at every post, there's always some old dude saying "eh, this is just XXXX which YYY did back int the 70s. Big deal!" iPhone? We had an iGrammaPhone did the same shit!

        • by Reziac (43301) *

          What would be wrong with including both in the gum, so as to create a two-pronged attack? Seems to me it might be a great addition to hit the bacteria that Xylitol doesn't.

    • by delinear (991444)
      I thought we already had this stuff over here (UK) for at least a few years. I know everywhere I go, cinemas, supermarkets, train stations etc. I see vending machines with teeth cleaning gum, although I will admit I've never been curious enough to investigate exactly what it is or how it works (the machines are usually in the men's room, and call me picky but I prefer not to buy gum I'm going to put in my mouth from a machine in a room that stinks of urine).
      • Gum tends to work by two means: First, it mechanically removes food particles. Second, it causes an increase in saliva, making for an inhospitable environment (some gums will alter the acidity of the saliva).

        In addition to those, this particular gum adds a third means: it has a protein that specifically attacks plaque producing bacteria.
      • by Yer Mom (78107)

        That's not gum. They're little brush-like things that you move around your teeth by chewing.

        At least, if you're thinking of the same machines that I am.

        (Am I the only one who misread the headline as "tooth cleaning gun", BTW?)

  • Nothing new... (Score:4, Informative)

    by Lord Kano (13027) on Thursday November 11, 2010 @12:48AM (#34193446) Homepage Journal

    All kinds of military developments have filtered out to the civilian market.

    Antiperspirant/deodorant. GPS. Radar. Microwave communication.

    It's just how some things develop.

    LK

    • Microwave Oven! How would I make Kraft Dinner without it...
    • All kinds of military developments have filtered out to the civilian market.

      Antiperspirant/deodorant. GPS. Radar. Microwave communication.

      And hopefully, that first item will eventually filter out even to the Slashdot market!

    • by wvmarle (1070040)

      Don't forget guns.

      • by imakemusic (1164993) on Thursday November 11, 2010 @07:35AM (#34194862)

        Yes. They were originally designed for killing people but were later found to have a wide range of household uses.

        • by KiloByte (825081)

          Considering that quite a few robberies include bastards invading a house when the occupants are in, yes, guns do have an important household use.
          And an even more important dark alley use.

          • by quenda (644621)

            Considering that quite a few robberies include bastards invading a house when the occupants are in,

            Well, if they invade the house when nobody is home, its not a robbery at all is it? It's a burglary.
            I'd like to see guns used for crimes against the English language.

        • by Xaroth (67516)

          Guns aren't toys - they’re for family protection, hunting dangerous or delicious animals, and keeping the King of England out of your face.

  • Amazing, they invented a gum that acts like gum!

    It freshens your breath and whitens your teeth!

    AMAZING!
  • "We came to kick ass and chew bubble gum, and we're all out of gum." Duke Nukem would be proud.
    • Original attribution (Score:5, Informative)

      by KingSkippus (799657) on Thursday November 11, 2010 @01:07AM (#34193524) Homepage Journal

      Every time I see that quote attributed to Duke Nukem, I bristle. The original quote came from a 1988 movie called They Live [imdb.com], starring wrestler "Rowdy" Roddy Piper and Keith David. I actually paid good money to go see that at a theater!

      I guess Duke Nukem made the phrase famous, but still, it was blatantly stolen. The exact quote is:

      I have come here to chew bubblegum and kick ass... and I'm all out of bubblegum.

      In the movie, Roddy had just burst into a bank with shotguns looking to kill him some aliens. When he delivered the line, I thought I was going to die laughing, it was so over-the-top. Anyone who likes Duke Nukem should see the movie at some point to enjoy the original source of the quote in all of its glory.

    • FFS - at least get the *REAL* ref right - They Live [wikipedia.org]

      • --
        Slashdot, where arm chair scientists get shouted down and arm chair theologians get modded up.

        The English speaking world, where armchair is one word.

        • by cellocgw (617879)

                  --
                  Slashdot, where arm chair scientists get shouted down and arm chair theologians get modded up.

          The English speaking world, where armchair is one word.

          Support your right to arm chairs! --- or is it to arm "chair theologians." ?

        • lol - nice catch. I apologize to all those that can actually spell.

    • by jamesh (87723)

      And in peacetime, "We came to kick ass and chew bubble gum, and we're all out of ass".

  • ..to prevent teeth related issues altogether.
  • It's a laxative! (Score:2, Interesting)

    by sockman (133264)

    We always had a good rumor that the "gum" in the MRE's was a laxative. I wonder what rumor will pop up about this gum.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      If it contains xylitol, then it IS a laxative (as a side effect)

      • Xylitol has a laxation threshold of 50g / day.

        At 0.5kcal per Smint pastille, and 9 calories per 5gm of pure Xylitol, we can back-of-a-napkin calculate you'd need to consume approximately 180 Smint pastilles in one day to see these effects, assuming that all of the calorific content of a Smint is pure Xylitol.

        If you need to consume that many mints per day, you should see a dentist pretty sharpish. Something in there is rotting, and needs removing.
        • You've obviously never experienced the effects first hand then because I can tell you, if you go through too much Trident with xylitol gum, you will feel like absolute crap. The sugar alcohol content is high enough they print warnings on the label about it. I don't think it's far fetched to assume some people's sensitivity and the unknown actual amount in these tooth brushing MRE chewing gum supplements (which was probably pretty high since it was made to clean teeth) would lead to the gum acting as a laxat

    • by couchslug (175151)

      "We always had a good rumor that the "gum" in the MRE's was a laxative."

      The Peanut Butter took care of that quite nicely. :)

  • by Greyfox (87712) on Thursday November 11, 2010 @01:06AM (#34193520) Homepage Journal
    A tooth cleaning gun would be way more cool, and would probably strike a lot more fear in the hearts of our enemies. God knows if I had a choice between a sit down with a military dentist and being waterboarded, I'd take the waterboarding as the more humane alternative (I'm an Air Force brat and the worst pain I've experienced in my 40 years of life so far was at the hands of an Air Force Dentist when I was 11 or 12.)
  • by Rexdude (747457) on Thursday November 11, 2010 @01:24AM (#34193608)
    Why is a nearly 5 year old article making news just now?
  • squeeze a line of colgate onto the basin and let it sit overnight. In the morning... gum.

  • How exactly is this going to help our future robot armies?

    Seriously, gum? It's only a matter of time before humans won't need to die on battlefields; Let's work harder on making this a reality and focus less on long term foot-soldier tech. The soldiers of the future won't need teeth cleaning gum because they'll be safe at home, remote controlling robotic drones -- toothpaste only yards away.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by jamesh (87723)

      safe at home, remote controlling robotic drones -- toothpaste only yards away.

      a job that they'll then outsource to a country where they don't have to pay their 'soldiers' so much. In order to keep productivity up, some real soldiers will be required to stand guard with great big whips. Those soldiers will need gum - no time to brush your teeth when there's whipping to be done!

    • by Hatta (162192)

      It's only a matter of time before humans won't need to die on battlefields

      Humans don't need to die on battlefields. Humans choose to die on battlefields.

      • by PortHaven (242123)

        You are very naive Hatta,

        Many people have no choice but to die. Their battlefields are their homes. They struggle to have a meager life only to be ruthlessly attacked and killed.

        They have no choice....

  • There is also the fact that frequently chewing gives you crooked teeth. I wonder if they started developing a battlefield alternative for braces.
    • Re:Crooked teeth (Score:4, Insightful)

      by jamesh (87723) on Thursday November 11, 2010 @04:34AM (#34194246)

      There is also the fact that frequently chewing gives you crooked teeth.

      No it doesn't. In fact research has shown that chewing gum actually straightens your teeth, correctly aligns your jaw, assists in building upper body muscle strength, improves learning and memory function in the brain, and can increase the size of your penis and duration of your erections by up to 58%.

      (you didn't provide a source for your 'fact' so I don't see why I should)

  • by G3ckoG33k (647276) on Thursday November 11, 2010 @03:18AM (#34193968)

    When they help deal with some of the hygiene issues, it IS news for nerds; stuff that matters!!!

  • US army develops tooth-cleaning gum
    By Simon Pitman, 21-Dec-2005

    -=- 2005-=- Maybe it's been stuck in the queue this whole time?
  • Is that some kind of organic molecule? What's its formula?

  • Sounds a lot like Biotene gum, which uses a combination of the enzymes Lysozyme, Glucose Oxidase, and Lactoperoxidase to destroy bacteria. Lysozyme directly attacks the peptidoglycans in bacterial cell walls, while Glucose Oxidase generates Hydrogen Peroxide from Glucose (in the gum). Lactoperoxidase then uses the peroxide to destroy bacteria as well.

    I chew this stuff pretty often, it's better than regular gum for getting rid of bad breath. Only problem is that if you chew too much, it can give you a sto

  • by imscarr (246204)

    I thought Dentyne gum did that many years ago?

  • This story is half a decade old.

    Come on Slashdot, get with the program.

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