Want Cavity Proof Teeth? New Chemical Might Make It Possible

By Amir Khan on July 11, 2012 2:27 PM EDT

Tooth
Tired of getting fillings every time you go to the dentist? That may be a thing of the past (Photo: Creative Commons)

Tired of getting fillings every time you go to the dentist? That may be a thing of the past, Chilean newspaper Diario Financiero reports. Scientists Jose Cordova from Yale University and Erich Astudillo from the Universidad de Santiago in Chile said they have come up with a way to make teeth "cavity proof."

Cavities are caused by the bacteria Streptococcus mutans, and the researchers said that by eliminating the bacteria in the mouth, they can prevent cavities from forming. They named the chemical Keep 32, because there are 32 teeth in the mouth, and have applied for a patent in the United States.

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The product has been tested over the last seven years and will move on to human trials soon, Astudillo said Keep 32 could be on the market in 14 to 18 months if it proves successful. They hope to incorporate the chemical into products ranging from toothpaste to gum to candy to stop bacteria from damaging your teeth as you eat.

"We are currently in talks with five interested in investing in our project or buy our patent," the researchers said, according to the Daily Mail.

However, Dr. Gerald Curatola, clinical associate professor at New York University College of Dentistry, told Fox News that Keep 32 is based on an "outdated notion" of killing bacteria.

"What we know now is our skin, our eyeballs, our hair, even our entire digestive tract, is lined with a protective biofilm made up of billions of bacteria," he said. "The approach of killing germs is a failed approach that led to the overuse of antimicrobials and antibiotics. It's important not to continue the pesticide approach, but rather to promote microbial homeostasis."

Instead, Curatola said it's more important to make sure all bacteria are in balance. He recommends avoiding harsh toothpastes and alcohol-based mouthwashes, which can disrupt the balance.

"The interesting thing is I've spent 20 years researching the oral biofilm and learned the same bacteria that causes diseases and disturbances, such as Streptococcus mutans, is that these same bacteria that can cause decay are benign when everything is in balance," he said.

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