Better toothpaste with added bacteria

Researchers have identified a new ally in the war against tooth decay: an enzyme produced by a mouth bacterium that prevents plaque formation. The finding could eventually lead to the development of toothpaste that harnesses the body’s own plaque-fighting tools.

The human mouth is awash with bacteria. More than 700 species thrive in the hot, moist conditions, including Streptococcus mutans, one of the main components of plaque. Clinging to the teeth in thin layers called biofilms, S. mutans digests sugars and produces acids that can eat into enamel and cause cavities. Other bacteria are more gracious guests. In 2009, for example, scientists found that S. salivarius, a type of bacterium found on the tongue and other soft tissues in the mouth, decreases the buildup of S. mutans biofilms. This may now lead to the development of better toothpaste. Read more here.

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