Could There Be a Cavity Vaccine?
New research suggests that a vaccine for cavities may actually be in our very near future. This new vaccine will mark a great stride in dental technology!
The bacteria that causes cavities, S. Mutans, feeds off of sugar in our mouths and therefore comes out when we eat sugary foods. This bacteria works by feeding off of the sugar in our mouths and then leaving behind what we call plaque. It is actually plaque that creates cavities in our mouths by rotting our teeth. Some People may be more prone to having the bacteria in their mouths than others. But all of this may change in the not too distant future, because new research has shown that there may be hope for a vaccine to destroy S.Mutans, effectively destroying cavities! This information comes from a report on a preclinical investigation, "Flagellin Enhances Saliva IgA Response and Protection of Anti-caries DNA Vaccine."
The lead author of the study, Wei Shi of the Wuhan Institute of Virology in the Chinese Academy of Sciences, have noticed that there is some promise for anti-cavity DNA vaccines.Shi and his team of researchers found a strain of protein that produced more likelihood that the S. Mutans bacteria would be inhibited from colonizing on tooth surfaces. The protein strain even showed a negative relationship with the likelihood of rodents' teeth contracting cavities.
Daniel Smith of the Forsyth Institute published a response to Shi's research which was titled "Prospects in Caries Vaccine Development." In this response, Smith claims that thus far scientists have noticed much success in DNA vaccines for cavities when used with animals. He expects that a cavity vaccine that is based on targeting the key parts of the S. Mutans bacteria's colonization is very likely going to be created.
The study was published in the International and American Associations for Dental Research's official journal, the Journal of Dental Research. The Journal of Dental Research's Editor-in-Chief, William Giannobile, said ""These papers highlight the exciting potential of using vaccines to protect against dental caries. This research is promising and provides optimism to help promote public health of caries-susceptible individuals."
If this research becomes a reality and we are able to have a vaccine for cavities it will be a great step in the right direction for the field of dentistry. Hopeful we will be able to see the development of this vaccine in our own lifetime! In the meantime, we still need to tend to our cavities in the same way we always have by brushing and flossing on a regular basis and maintaining excellent oral health.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jessica Harmon is a staff writer for Dr. James A. Wells with South Charlotte Dentistry. If you would like more information about how we can help you with your oral health, please visit our website!