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GUM DISEASE, NOT CAVITIES, IS NO. 1 CONCERN, DENTISTS SAY

 CHICAGO, Feb. 18 /PRNewswire/ -- There are 7,300 dentists in Chicago this week for the Midwinter Regional Dental Meeting, and they'll all tell you: gum disease, not cavities, is the No. 1 dental health concern. With fluoride in water and in nearly all toothpastes, cavities are fewer in number. Today, the primary cause of mouth problems is gum disease, or, more accurately, periodontal disease. In fact, it's the leading cause of tooth loss in adults.
 The American Dental Association says 8 out of 10 Americans suffer from periodontal disease during their lifetime. "If you've ever had swollen, bleeding, receding or sensitive gums, loose teeth or persistent bad breath -- chances are you've had periodontal disease." That's according to Pennsylvania dentist Pier Cipriani, a general practitioner who specializes in non-surgical treatment of gum problems.
 "Health reform begins at home," says Cipriani. "The best way to avoid costly dental treatment is to keep your gums in good shape. How? By controlling the harmful bacteria that thrive in the gums' tiny pockets, causing steady erosion of gums, teeth and bone." These bacteria (there are actually some two dozen different types) all share a common trait: they only grow in the absence of oxygen. "That," says Cipriani, "is their fatal weakness."
 For decades, researchers have known that these "anaerobic" bacteria can be killed by flooding the gum pockets with oxygen and reducing acidity in the mouth. Many dentists have long said the best way to do this is to brush with a combination of baking soda and hydrogen peroxide. The problem, until now, is that this combination tastes horrible, is a mess to handle and lacks fluoride.
 With several years' work, the inventive Cipriani has updated this age-old remedy and produced, with Zila Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ: ZILA), PeriGel -- the first convenient, good tasting, twin- tube dentifrice with baking soda, hydrogen peroxide and fluoride. "Baking soda toothpastes are all the rage," said the dentist, "but without hydrogen peroxide, they're only half the remedy."
 The PeriGel carton contains two tubes -- one a minty baking soda paste with fluoride, the other a clear blue hydrogen peroxide gel -- for a total of 8 ounces. Equal portions are applied to the toothbrush. When they mix in the mouth, a chemical reaction generates a flood of microscopic oxygen bubbles. A soft bristle brush and a rubber tip stimulator will get the PeriGel foam deep into gum pockets.
 PeriGel removes plaque and stains and brightens teeth. Because of its lower abrasiveness, PeriGel is ideal for those with receding gums and sensitive exposed roots. And, since it has no gumming agents, PeriGel even works with electric toothbrushes.
 "PeriGel is in a league of its own," said Cipriani, noting that PeriGel has more than 100 times the baking soda and five times the hydrogen peroxide of the only other combination toothpaste.
 In a recent study, PeriGel was found to reduce gum disease, as shown by decreased plaque accumulation and bleeding. Use of PeriGel resulted in a dramatic drop in bacterial counts -- and complete elimination of the bacteria in some patients. "We believe this is the first time that a toothpaste product has been shown to reduce periodontal disease bacteria in a clinical setting," said Cipriani.
 And how is PeriGel doing in retail stores? According to Zila President Joseph Hines, "PeriGel is exceeding even our own sales forecasts in food and drug stores from coast to coast." If it's not yet in your favorite store, ask the manager or pharmacist to order it. Or order direct from Zila at 1-800-922-7887.
 -0- 2/18/93
 /NOTE: Cipriani is available for phone interviews by calling 215-493-6525, or call Bill Sklar at 703-538-2476 to arrange an interview.
 PeriGel samples, photos and additional information are available at the Zila Pharmaceuticals booth (Nos. 2131 & 2132) at the Chicago Midwinter Regional Dental Meeting, McCormick Place, Feb. 18-21, and from Zila at 602-266-6700.
 PeriGel is a registered trademark./
 /CONTACT: Joseph Hines of Zila Pharmaceuticals, 602-266-6700/
 (ZILA)


CO: Zila Pharmaceuticals, Inc. ST: Illinois IN: HEA MTC SU:

KD -- DC002 -- 7718 02/18/93 09:08 EST
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Date:Feb 18, 1993
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