Strains of Lactobacillus delbrueckii which inhibit Porphyromonas gingivalis


Periodontitis is a common disease of the oral cavity that affects over 47% of individuals in the US that are over 30 years old and over 70% of adults over 65. Recent studies have shown the pathogen responsible for the inflammatory condition, P. gingivalis, is also linked to the development of Alzheimer’s disease. Tufts University inventors have discovered a bioceutical that can inhibit the pathogen and reduce the effects of periodontitis.



Current treatment for periodontitis is primarily through routine dental cleanings and scaling and root planing (deep cleaning). This involves the mechanical removal of subgingival plaque and smoothing of the tooth root to allow for reattachment of damaged gingival tissue. Broad spectrum antibiotics are used in more extreme cases. Over-the-counter treatments include toothpaste and mouthwashes with hydrogen peroxide and some with triclosan.



Although scaling and root planing is an effective treatment option, it is an invasive procedure that often leaves patients feeling sore. When conditions worsen, such as the presence of an abscess, antibiotics are prescribed. Tufts innovative bioceutical circumvents these complications by providing a once-daily application that inhibits the bacteria that causes periodontitis. Using a bacterial strain or recombinant protein has advantages over the current therapies since it can be used preventatively and does not involve the use of broad-spectrum antibiotics.



The invention is comprised of a specific strain of Lactobacillus delbrueckii that inhibits the growth of Porphyromonas gingivalis by producing inhibitory concentrations of hydrogen peroxide primarily through the pyruvate oxidase enzyme. The strain, isolated from consumer yogurt, is unmodified from its original state. Studies demonstrated that the purified recombinant pyruvate oxidase from this strain is capable of inhibiting P. gingivalis on its own. The hydroxide-producing L. delbrueckii isolate is the first of its kind.



Tufts’ hydroxide-producing L. delbrueckii isolate would be used as a prophylactic therapy to prevent gingivitis and periodontitis. L. delbrueckii may also help alleviate existing gingival or periodontal infection. Half of all American adults have periodontal disease and the incidence of periodontitis increases drastically during each decade of life. A substantial consumer base for products targeting the prevention or treatment of the disease exists. Tufts University is looking for a commercial partner to further develop this technology and generate a viable treatment modality.



•       Easy daily application

•       Non-invasive

•       Prophylactic use



•       Replaces extensive dental treatments

•       Isolated from bacteria found in consumer yogurt


IP STATUS  U.S. Provisional Patent Application filed


Licensing Contact

John Cosmopoulos