http://www.cnn.com/2005/US/11/11/army.gum.ap/index.html Army considering combat chewing gum Scientists working to make gum fight bacteria, keep flavor Friday, November 11, 2005; Posted: 9:56 p.m. EST (02:56 GMT) NASHVILLE, Tennessee (AP) -- Brushing three times a day is a tough task, especially if you're roughing it in the mountains of Afghanistan or in the Iraqi desert. So goes the logic behind a recent endeavor by Army and civilian scientists -- combat gum for soldiers too busy to brush. The gum, described at the American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists convention this week in Nashville, would contain a special bacteria-fighting agent to prevent plaque, cavities and gum disease. Soldiers in the field often lack the necessary time and means to brush and floss. Compounding the problem is the stress of combat, which can encourage bacterial growth in the mouth, said Col. Dennis Runyan, commander of the Army Dental and Trauma Research Detachment in Great Lakes, Illinois. 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 that it retains its flavor and bacteria-fighting ability for 30 minutes to an hour. Once the development stage is complete sometime within the next year, scientists will begin testing the gum, possibly with Army units. If the Army decides to pursue the idea, it will probably team up with a manufacturer to produce the gum. The Army has been talking to companies like chewing gum giant Wm. Wrigley Jr. Co., Runyan said. Runyan said he hopes to see a finished product available within four years.