New Mouthwash Targets Bacteria, May Eliminate Tooth Decay

Dec 4 08:25 2011 Jessica Harmon Print This Article

This article looks at the development of a new mouthwash that may cure cavities. Researchers hope that they can have the mouthwash on the market as early as late next year!

A recent clinical study conducted at the UCLA School of Dentistry has developed a highly successful mouthwash which targets the streptococcus mutans bacteria that causes cavities and tooth decay. The study,Guest Posting conducted by a microbiologist, developed the mouthwash and then tested its effectiveness in eliminating the S. mutans bacteria. As we’ve blogged about before, S. mutans causes cavities by feeding off the sugars that we have in our mouths and leaving behind what we know as plaque. Plaque then builds up on our teeth and eats through our enamel and eventually our teeth.

But this new study provides hope of eliminating cavities once and for all. The study found amazing results with the mouthwash. Researchers provided mouthwash to twelve test subjects and had them rinse only one single time with the wash. After just rinsing once the subjects showed almost no S. mutans in their mouths over the entire four days that they were studied.

Cavities are likely the most common and costly infectious disease in the United States. Cavities affect over fifty percent of all US children and are estimated to affect the majority of adult Americans. This new mouthwash could save billions of dollars over the course of a lifetime. Every year Americans pour over seventy billion dollars into the treatment of cavities.

It has taken researchers almost a decade to develop this incredible mouthwash, but it was definitely well worth the wait. Wenyuan Shi, the head researcher on this project and chair of the oral biology section at the UCLA School of Dentistry, developed an antimicrobial technology over this decade, which is the active ingredient in the mouthwash that is causing the elimination of the bacteria.

The new mouthwash also does something that no other anti-bacterial has managed to do. Humans contain lots of different bacteria that often help us in our digestion and perform other tasks which help us to experience the best possible health. But humans can also contract lots of harmful bacteria like S. mutans. We already have some drugs that manage to kill of bacteria to a certain extent which we call antibiotics. But unfortunately the antibiotics will kill off all the bacteria, even the good ones, and they will only do so over a twenty four hour time span. And humans can’t take antibiotics on a regular basis because doing so will severely disrupt our ecological balance, making us more susceptible to diseases and infections in the long run.

But the new mouthwash technology eliminates these problems. This mouthwash targets only the harmful bacteria and leaves our helpful bacteria alone. It also will remain effective for more than twenty four hours at a time. The success story of this limited trial study leads researchers to be hopeful that they can begin more extensive trials starting in March. If this new technology becomes available to the general public it will be the first anti-cavity medicine approved for general use since fluoride.

This new study provides a window into the treatment of other diseases as well. If this mouthwash is as effective as this introductory study makes it seem to be, then it could lay the foundation for the development of similar medicines that target specific bacteria for other diseases. "With this new antimicrobial technology, we have the prospect of actually wiping out tooth decay in our lifetime," said Shi.

The dean of the UCLA School of Dentistry, Dr. No-Hee Park, had this to say: "The work conducted by Dr. Shi's laboratory will help transform the concept of targeted antimicrobial therapy into a reality. We are proud that UCLA will become known as the birthplace of this significant treatment innovation."

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Jessica Harmon
Jessica Harmon

Jessica Harmon is a staff writer for Dr. James A. Wells of South Charlotte Dentistry. If you would like more information about how we can help with your cavities, please visit our website!

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