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Keywords:

  • melatonin;
  • saliva;
  • oral medicine

Oral Diseases (2010) 16, 242–247

Background:  Melatonin is the principal secretory product of the pineal gland. It has immunomodulatory and antioxidant activities, stimulates the proliferation of collagen and osseous tissue and acts as a protector against cellular degeneration associated with aging and toxin exposure. Arising out of its antioxidant actions, melatonin protects against inflammatory processes and cellular damage caused by the toxic derivates of oxygen. As a result of these actions, melatonin may be useful as a co-adjuvant in the treatment of certain conditions of the oral cavity.

Methods:  An extensive review of the scientific literature was carried out using PubMed, Science Direct, ISI Web of Knowledge and the Cochrane base.

Results:  Melatonin, which is released into the saliva, may have important implications for oral diseases. Melatonin may have beneficial effects in certain oral pathologies including periodontal diseases, herpes viral infections and Candida, local inflammatory rocesses, xerostomia, oral ulcers and oral cancer.

Conclusions:  Melatonin may play a role in protecting the oral cavity from tissue damage caused by oxidative stress. The experimental evidence suggests that melatonin may have utility in the treatment of several common diseases of the oral cavity. However, more specific studies are necessary to extend the therapeutic possibilities to other oral diseases.