A special toothpaste could ease peanut allergies for adults

Allergists have used oral immunotherapy to desensitize people with peanut allergies for years. That’s when you eat small amounts of peanut over time to alleviate a potential allergic reaction. But a new product may make it easier to give yourself—and potentially your kiddos—small doses of the allergen.

Instead of doling out the Skippy to try it yourself (or doing it at your allergist’s office), researchers developed a new toothpaste that does the work for you—and it’s perfectly dosed.

The research was presented at the recent American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI) Annual Scientific Meeting.

It’s called oral mucosal immunotherapy (OMIT).

“OMIT uses a specially formulated toothpaste to deliver allergenic peanut proteins to areas of the oral cavity,” William Berger, MD, lead author of the research, said in a statement. The toothpaste has a targeted delivery and simple administration that supports the goal of improved adherence, Berger said.

Translation: You’ll desensitize yourself more often and stick with it, so long as you keep brushing your pearly whites.

Dr. Berger conducted a study on 32 adults between the ages of 18 and 55. Some used the toothpaste, others didn’t. Over a 48-week span, the researchers monitored the people and used blood tests to gauge their response.

“We noted that 100% of those being treated with the toothpaste consistently tolerated the pre-specified protocol highest dose,” Dr. Berger said. “No moderate nor severe systemic reactions occurred in active participants. Non-systemic adverse reactions were mostly local (oral itching), mild, and transient.”

“There was 97% adherence to treatment with no dropouts due to study medication. OMIT appears to be a safe and convenient option for adults with food allergies,” Dr. Berger said.

Think the toothpaste could be good for your little one? Dr. Berger does too. “The results support continued development of this toothpaste in the pediatric population,” he said.

Expect more studies to evaluate the toothpaste, which could be a purchasable possibility in the near future.