Study explores why mouth wounds heal faster than skin cuts

It is always frustrating when you bite your tongue or get a paper cut. But why do mouth wounds heal faster? A study published in the July issue of Science Translational Medicine explains why and how this could help researchers make skin wounds heal faster.

The study comes from researchers at the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases. The authors had 30 test subjects receive wounds in the cheek and underside of the arm with an eighth of an inch hole punch. The mouth wounds healed in a few days, whereas the skin ones took over two weeks to close. By looking at the wounds on the molecular level, the team discovered that repair genes are much faster to become active in the mouth and that mouth cells prevent inflammation. The researchers also saw two master-healing proteins in the mouth and attempted to use them in skin cells. Using mice for this part of the experiment, the proteins made skin wounds heal faster.

The authors believe this research may help pharmacologists create drugs that will speed up the healing process of skin wounds.

The ADA’s consumer website, MouthHealthy.org, offers information about mouth sores.

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This article is intended to promote understanding of and knowledge about general oral health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your dentist or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment.

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