Scientists at the University of Florida have identified a strain of bacteria in the mouth that may be able to ward off cavity-causing bacteria. According to a release from the University, this bacteria could be used to develop a probiotic supplement in pill form that prevents cavities.
“To maintain a healthy mouth, the oral environment must have a relatively neutral chemical makeup, or a neutral pH. When the environment in the mouth becomes more acidic, dental cavities or other disorders can develop,” said Robert Burne, PhD, associate dean for research and chair of the UF College of Dentistry’s department of oral biology, in the release. “At that point, bacteria on the teeth make acid, and acid dissolves the teeth. It’s straightforward chemistry. We got interested in what activities keep the pH elevated.”
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New York cosmetic dentist Timothy Chase, DMD, thinks the research looks promising. “The pill sounds like a probiotic to increase the good bacteria in your mouth,” he says. “Recent studies show promise in this area, and bacteria, their food and the environmental factors that cause cavities, are finally being identified and studied. Additional research is also being done to balance the pH in your mouth to help promote the good bacteria, but all in all, this is still in the early stages. The hope is that in the future, no one will have to walk out of a dental office frustrated that they do everything they can, like brushing, flossing and regular dentist visits, and still get cavities—soon dental decay may be a thing of the past!”