New Ways to Fight Cavities

1 decade 1 month 1 week ago August 23, 2006 Aug 23, 2006 Wednesday, August 23 2006 Wednesday, August 23, 2006 12:02:07 PM CDT in News

Brushing and flossing is the number one cavity fighting strategy, but in the future you may be able to chew away the germs that cause tooth decay.

"There are a number of foods that have this quality that are what we called anti-cariogenic," Dr. William Vann said.

Basically, these foods disrupt bacteria's effort to invade teeth.

"The claim can be made that there are foods that fight cavities," Vann said.

Now scientists in Germany are harnessing some of those cavity fighting compounds found in the foods we eat. The latest lactobacillus is a so called friendly bacteria found in live yogurt. When added to chewing gum, researchers say it dramatically reduced the amount of cavity causing bacteria.

"Keep in mind a clean tooth doesn't get a cavity," Vann explained.

In the future, it may be possible to pop a piece of candy if there isn't a toothbrush nearby. Dental researchers at Stonybrook University are developing candy and other confections infused with cavistat, a compound they say mimics the cavity fighting action of saliva and works better than fluoride. The tooth sweet treats could hit the market within the year. Dental experts say everyone will still need to brush.

Many brands of chewing gum already contain the artificial sweetener xylitol, which helps prevent bacteria from sticking to the teeth. The German company testing the good-bacteria based gum says toothpastes and mouthwashes are also in the works.

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