Education

It’s like soap for your patient’s mouth: Why cyclodextrins are important for the future of oral care

During viral epidemics, dental studios face significant challenges. Amidst requirements for meticulous hygiene and virus spread prevention, cyclodextrins in oral care products could help dentists do their jobs while keeping everyone healthy and safe. While cyclodextrins are not primarily meant as prevention or cure for viral infections, in the same way as soap, they destroy membranes of viruses and make them weaker.

 

Here’s how.

In times of viral epidemics, dentists rank among the most vulnerable professions when it comes to risk of viral infection. As a result, dental studios need to take exceptional measures to prevent virus transmission and ensure the health and safety of both patients and staff. We believe that oral care products should contribute to these efforts and make dental practices a healthier place altogether.

Using cyclodextrins as a broad-spectrum antiviral is one of the ways oral care products can help with prevention and treatment of viruses in dental studios. Not at all common today, we believe that more and more oral care products are going to include cyclodextrins in future, in order to take advantage of their virus-fighting properties, among others.

“Cyclodextrins are proving to be extremely valuable in prevention against viral attacks on the mucous membranes in the mouth, throat and nose.”

Prof. Denis Bourgeois, University of Lyon

What are cyclodextrins?

Cyclodextrins are substances commonly used in drug delivery as solubilizers, i.e. a kind of medium that helps deliver drugs to where they are needed. This includes, for example, antiviral drugs that need to reach the mucous membranes where viruses like to settle in and spread.

More importantly though, modified cyclodextrins act as effective broad-spectrum antivirals. According to a recent study published in Science Advances, a cyclodextrin they developed “exhibits a broad-spectrum virucidal, irreversible mechanism of action, presents a high barrier to viral resistance, and is biocompatible.”

“We demonstrated its preventive and therapeutic activity both in cell lines and in human-derived pseudostratified and highly differentiated histocultures, mimicking faithfully the upper respiratory tract.”

Combating Coronavirus: Key Role of Cyclodextrins in Treatment and Prevention

How does it work?

Cyclodextrins fight viruses through sequestering the cholesterol from viral particles, causing lipid raft disruption. In other words, cyclodextrins disturb the lipid membrane of the virus, effectively defeating its activity and spread. Cyclodextrins can also deplete cholesterol from host cell membranes, rendering them less susceptible to viral infection.

Applying cyclodextrins to the mucous membranes of the mouth can therefore help prevent infection and the spread of viruses in the mouth, nose and throat. Prophylactic nasal and throat sprays can be developed to prevent viral transmission via the respiratory route.

What does it mean for the future of oral care?

As of now, there are very few oral care products on the market that contain cyclodextrins. We believe that in order to actively fight the spread of viral infections, the future of mouthwash and rinse solutions is to include cyclodextrins as an active agent.

This will not only help dental studios maintain higher standards of viral safety, but enable each and every one of us to actively treat and prevent infections through everyday gargles that are easy to do and beneficial for the general health of the mouth, throat, nose and, as such, effectively the whole body.

What else can I do to help prevent infection in my dental studio?

While cyclodextrins can help improve the health of mucous membranes, they are not meant as a primary means for prevention or treatment of viruses. Using cyclodextrin-enabled mouthwashes is just a part of a larger effort.

There are lots of useful manuals on what to do to protect yourself and your patients during viral epidemics. We have compiled the most important points from one of them in this article; be sure to check it out as well.


Sources:
Combating Coronavirus: Key Role of Cyclodextrins in Treatment and Prevention
Modified cyclodextrins as broad-spectrum antivirals