A Cure for Cavities

There is no fun way to treat a cavity and I’ve never run across anyone who enjoys the very common procedure of filling one in.  Thanks to sedation dentistry, those who are particularly anxious about the procedure, are able to remedy the issue in a relaxed, calm environment, but even with technological developments that make dental visits more enjoyable, the most preferably situation is to avoid cavities altogether.  Currently, the best way to avoid “the drill” is by brushing and flossing regularly, coupled with bi-annual visits to your dentist.  However, according to the Fox News article, “Can a newly-discovered chemical eliminate cavities?” science has gone one step further, taking preventative dental care to the next level.

Diario Financiero, a Chilean reporter, recently wrote a story about two researchers who have discovered a chemical that they claim is able to eliminate cavities.  Jose Cordova, from Yale Universtiy, and Erich Astudillo, from the Universidad de Santiago in Chile, call the new chemical Keep 32, cleverly referring to the 32 teeth found in the human mouth.  According to the scientists, Keep 32 could be used in a plethora of products, including toothpaste, mouthwash, gum, and candy.  The chemical apparently is able to eliminate the bacteria Streptococcus mutans, which produces cavities, in as little as 60 seconds.  Human trials have yet to be conducted, but once they are, the researchers feel the product could be on the market in as little as 18 months.  They have filed a patent in the United States and hope to license it to hygiene-orientated corporations, such as Colgate or Proctor & Gamble.  If successful, the discovery could change the face of dentistry worldwide.

Not everyone is as optimistic about the product as the researchers however.  Dr. Gerald Curatola, clinical associate professor at New York University College of Dentistry, claims the product uses an “outdated science of killing bugs” when preventing cavities.  According to Curatola, the key to preventing disease is keeping bacterial biofilms, found in every corner of our bodies, in balance.  After studying oral biofilms for more than 20 years, Curatola has learned that the same bacteria that cause cavities are inactive when everything is in balance.  To achieve and maintain balance, the doctor recommends steering clear of harsh detergent toothpastes and alcohol-based mouthwashes, and eating a healthy diet, high in green foods and low in acidic foods.  Obviously, more research and studies need to be completed before anyone can say whether Keep 32 will work effectively or not.  Until then, practicing good oral hygiene is still the number one method in preventing tooth decay.

Written by Mark Paulsort

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