Good news for patients of our Erie, Colorado dentists and around the world, a new discovery could one day lead to an anti-cavity pill, according to the results of a new study. Researchers at the University of Florida have identified a strain of bacteria that grows in the mouth that may prevent the development of cavities. If results of this study proved accurate, this breakthrough could offer a simple and effective answer to tooth decay, a global problem that impacts an estimated 3.9 billion people worldwide.
Caused by a variety of factors that include poor oral hygiene habits and diet, untreated tooth decay can negatively impact an individual’s long-term oral health. From an increased risk of cavities to gum disease and tooth loss, untreated tooth decay ranks as the world’s leading chronic disease. If researchers could develop a pill that prevents tooth decay and the development of cavities, it would prove a huge improvement to the lives of children and adults worldwide.
The results of the study were published in the journal Applied and Environmental Microbiology.
A Pill For Preventing Tooth Decay
A healthy mouth requires a fairly neutral chemical environment. When an individual’s mouth becomes too acidic, it can lead to the development of cavities and other oral health problems. When the acidity becomes unbalanced, bacteria that grows in the mouth starts to create acid, which slowly dissolves tooth enamel. Researchers began their study by examining what factors in the mouth contribute to keeping an elevated pH level.
Researchers discovered the potentially beneficial bacteria as a strain of streptococcus called A12, according to the study. The researchers then began to map out A12’s entire genetic code with the purpose of using it as a tool to screen patients to see who has a higher risk of developing cavities.
Based on the results from the study, researchers hope they can reach the point where they can identify patients with higher levels of this beneficial bacteria as being at a lower risk of cavities, when compared to those who don’t carry have the same levels of A12 and may be at a higher risk of tooth decay. Researchers believe this may be one factor in determining risk of tooth decay in patients.
By synthesizing A12 into a pill form, researchers hope one day to be able to increase the levels of the healthy bacteria in the mouth of all patients to successfully lower their risk of tooth decay. By increasing the levels of A12 in the mouths of patients whose bodies naturally produce low levels of the bacteria, researchers could potentially force the mouth towards a more neutral state that prevents the development of decay.
Protecting Your Oral Health
Until researchers successfully develop a cavity preventing pill, patients of our Erie, Colorado dentists will just have to make sure to practice quality daily oral hygiene to lower their risk of dental decay and disease.
The American Dental Association recommends brushing for at least two minutes at a time, twice a day. Patients also need to floss daily and rinse thoroughly after every meal they cannot immediately brush after enjoying. By practicing these routine daily habits, and scheduling regular dental checkups and exams with our staff at Impressions Dental, you will enjoy a lifetime of healthy teeth and gums.