Could this be the end of tooth decay? Researchers from the University of Alabama at Birmingham may have created a small molecule that prevents or impedes tooth cavities. The inhibitor blocks the function of a key virulence enzyme, essentially halting a process that is largely responsible for tooth decay. When applied to teeth, the molecule is so slippery that it inhibits the development of the protective and sticky biofilm that is a keystone of oral bacterial growth.
Worldwide, nearly 2.3 billion people have at least one cavity in their permanent teeth. Traditional methods of cleaning teeth and preventing cavities, such as brushing, flossing and using mouthwash, have limited success. Development of a preventative treatment that could take away bacteria’s ability to form biofilms and cavities could be a monumental advance in oral care. Let’s wish them success and hope that we will all soon see a day where cavities and tooth decay are a thing of the past!