- The Washington Times - Saturday, November 12, 2005

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Army and civilian scientists are working to develop chewing gum for combat soldiers who are too busy to brush.

The gum, described at this week’s American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists convention, would contain a special bacteria-fighting agent to prevent plaque, cavities and gum disease.

Soldiers in the field often don’t have the time or the means to brush and floss. Beyond that, the stress of combat can encourage bacterial growth in the mouth, said Col. Dennis Runyan, commander of the Army Dental and Trauma Research Detachment in Great Lakes, Ill.

Gum was considered an ideal solution because the Army already issues gum to soldiers in their field rations.

Dr. Patrick DeLuca, a University of Kentucky drug-product developer, is working to perfect the prototype, trying to make it taste better and ensure its bacteria-fighting ability and flavor for up to an hour.

If the Army decides to go ahead with the idea, it will probably team up with a manufacturer to produce the gum.

The Army has been talking to such companies as Wm. Wrigley Jr. Co., the maker of Juicy Fruit, Col. Runyan said.

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