Special to the Journal
Augusta, Ga. – A trio of over-the-counter products with natural ingredients to combat dry mouth are the latest consumer products developed by Camellix, LLC, a start-up biotechnology and drug development company founded by Georgia Regents University researcher Dr. Stephen Hsu.
The formula for MighTeaFlow Organic Neutral pH Moisturizing Oral Rinse, Oral Spray, and Lozenge was developed at the GRU Life Sciences Business Development Center, a biobusiness incubator in the Office of Innovation Commercialization. They are the first products to be released by Camellix since graduating from the incubator on Oct. 1 and relocating to an office and warehouse in Evans, Ga.
“Camellix grew up here. They rapidly moved from a great idea to a range of innovative products,” said Dr. Christopher McKinney, Associate Vice President of Innovation Commercialization at GRU. “We’re very proud of the company. They’ve done some amazing work here.”
Camellix launched its first product, a natural chewing gum designed to relieve symptoms of dry mouth, in March 2012. The new oral rinse, spray, and lozenge build on the same green tea-derived technology developed for MighTeaFlow Dry Mouth Chewing Gum, said Hsu, Professor of Oral Biology in the GRU College of Dental Medicine.
“This is based on more than 10 years of study on the properties of these compounds. We realized we could develop natural products that can really benefit people with dry mouth. The award-winning formula actually protects salivary function and enhances salivary function. It protects and enhances,” Hsu said. “There’s no other product that can do that.”
The products harness the power of EGCG, a green tea polyphenol that suppresses the body’s inflammatory response, reduces oxidative stress, and protects against free radicals. The products also contain other botanic extracts, and the non-fermenting sugar alcohol Xylitol, which prevents cavities and has been approved by the FDA to help alleviate symptoms associated with dry mouth.
The alcohol-, sugar-, and saccharin-free rinse contain aloe vera, raspberry extract, calcium, and fluoride to soothe oral tissues and protect teeth. A neutral pH protects against tooth decay and enamel erosion caused by acidic products and bacteria.
“The MighTeaFlow products have natural antioxidants that can work to make the salivary cells healthier. We’re promoting a healthier pH, which is going to be in favor of mineralization. A low pH can actually damage enamel and induce sensitivity. Some oral rinses have a very low pH, which should be avoided by dry mouth patients,” Hsu said. “Our team looked at the pH and ingredients very carefully. We consulted with dental professionals—the dentists, the hygienists, and patients—to get to this formula that’s going to help people with dry mouth symptoms.”
Dry mouth is commonly experienced by diabetics, cancer patients, and people with auto-immune diseases like Sjogren’s syndrome. Dry mouth is also a side-effect of many prescription and over-the-counter medications. Without the protective effect of saliva, dry mouth patients are at a greater risk of tooth decay, erosion, gum disease, bad breath, chapped lips, sore throat, hoarseness, and other complications.
“Saliva is a buffer. It can actually neutralize acidic foods that come in, whatever you eat or drink. Dry mouth patients often have an acidic oral environment susceptible to bacteria growth,” Hsu said. “The purpose of our products is to increase your own saliva flow and to partially restore your salivary function. That’s the key difference between our technology and others. We want you to make more of your own saliva. Other products lubricate, but don’t make new saliva.”
Dr. Scott DeRossi, Chairman of Oral Health & Diagnostic Sciences, led a two-year clinical trial, funded by the International Association for Dental Research/GlaxoSmithKline Innovation in Oral Care Award. Results will be presented at an American Association for Dental Research meeting in March.
“This formula has been tested in our dental college,” Hsu said. “The results are very exciting and we’ll be announcing at a later date.”