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Study examines melatonin’s potential in treating periodontal disease

Melatonin is the latest supplement to show promise in the fight against the damaging effects of periodontal disease.

Researchers are learning that melatonin promotes bone formation and stimulates the body's immune response, which are two factors that can affect a person's periodontal health.

Melatonin has been found to be involved in many biological functions such as setting the body's sleep rhythms and fighting off free radicals that may lead to cancer and other autoimmune diseases.

Following an extensive review of literature to determine the potential effects of melatonin on the oral cavity—including melatonin as an antioxidant and free radical scavenger and promoter of bone formation, and melatonin and periodontal disease—researchers found strong evidence that melatonin may help to maintain bone levels in the oral cavity by suppressing the cells that work during bone resorption, thus enhancing the body's host response to the periodontal bacteria.

"Although the review did not directly look at melatonin as a treatment option for periodontal diseases, this is an area that might be worth investigating in the future," said Dr. Antonio Cutando, author of the literature review in the Journal of Periodontology. "Melatonin has important physiological functions that have not yet been explored in dentistry or in the treatment of periodontal diseases."

Melatonin helps improve the body's immune response to infection through the supplement's strong antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects. Studies have shown that salivary melatonin levels may vary according to the degree of periodontal disease, indicating that melatonin may act to protect the body from periodontal bacteria and inflammation.

©2010 American Dental Association. All rights reserved. Reproduction or republication is strictly prohibited without the prior written permission from the American Dental Association.

07/02/2007

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