What Makes the Oral Mucosa Heal Faster than Skin?
Skin or oral wound: which one heals faster in your opinion? At first, I’d bet in the skin. After all, only the thinking of such messy scenario involving tons of saliva containing the local microbial community (would they infect the wound farther?) along with eating and drinking restrictions due to acidic/basic compounds or potential mechanical abrasion make me ouch (!) uncomfortably already. But then guess what? At the end the oral cavity wins the race. And it is not only a question of time, but also it has a superior healing character with reduced scar formation.
Why Oral Mucosa Heals better than skin.
For example, recently light was shed on the topic by Waasdorp M. and colleagues (1) from The Netherlands. The scientists published a review entitled “The Bigger Picture: Why Oral Mucosa Heals Better Than Skin.” In this work authors compare the entire process of healing for both sites. As a result, all cells participating in the process are included as well as the presence of saliva and the oral microbiome. In brief, multiple factors contribute to the superior oral wound closure. Among them are the presence of saliva (actually it is a helper!), a quicker immune response and increased extracellular matrix remodelling.
Coming back to the microbes, certain ones may even train and alert the immune system in a way that they may influence positively the wound-healing cascade in the mouth. That is to say, we have another beautiful example illustrating that a healthy oral microbiota plays in our favor. On the other hand, an open wound on the skin is confronted daily with environmental bacteria. Certainly, in this case a covering dressing is necessary to keep the area free of contamination. The current dressing options available have a flaw – they cannot concomitantly be an efficient antibacterial barrier and promote the healing. This is the reason of existence of Colzyx in Sweden, for instance. In short, the company is in research phase and is developing an innovative wound care and antimicrobial product.
Next time you have a mouth cut, don’t panic, because oral cavity has everything under control. You should nevertheless avoid eating a 2-days old French baguette…
by Fernanda Haffner.
Fernanda is Senior Technology Scout at TechScout