Could The End of All Cavities Be In Sight?

Scientist with vialA new mouthwash study may be the beginning of the end for dental caries. A team of researchers at UCLA’s School of Dentistry, led by Dr. Wenyuan Shi, has developed an oral rinse they’re calling a “smart bomb” against cavities. Could tooth decay, the most common disease in the world, soon go the way of polio and smallpox?

What Causes Tooth Decay?

Dental caries, or cavities, are caused by the bacterium Streptococcus mutans. This bacterium is also associated with increased risk of heart disease. When S. mutans enters the bloodstream from the mouth, it travels to the heart and causes inflammation. Both gum disease and dental caries are linked to increased risk of serious health conditions like heart disease, stroke, diabetes and pregnancy complications, and Alzheimer’s.

Stamping Out Cavities

This study marks the first usage of specifically targeted anti-microbial peptides (STAMPs). All types of mouthwash currently on the market kill many different types of oral bacteria, some of which are harmless. Overuse of antibiotics, especially those that kill many types of bacteria, is associated with increased susceptibility to other types of infections. Microorganisms that are normally harmless in small quantities may multiply and cause infections when other bacteria are destroyed. The STAMP in this mouthwash, Sm STAMP C16G2, only kills S. mutans. While other oral rinses are only effective for about 12 hours, this mouthwash significantly reduced S. mutans for about four days!

Dr. Shi plans to begin extensive clinical trials next March. If approved, Sm STAMP C16G2 would be the first anti-cavity drug licensed since fluoride was approved in the 1940s. This may also be the first step in developing STAMPs that target specific organisms, reducing drug-resistant strains of bacteria while keeping helpful and benign flora alive.

Until this new oral rinse is widely available, brushing, flossing, and using mouthwash are still necessary to prevent tooth decay. Ask Dr. Seal which type of mouthwash is best for you. When cavities do strike, prompt treatment will save as much of your tooth as possible. Call our North Dallas office today at 214-361-0883 to schedule your next cleaning. We are conveniently located right off the Tollway near SMU, Park Cities, Bluffview, and Mockingbird Station.