New Treatment Could Someday Prevent Cavities
Posted by AESTHETIC DENTISTRY on Oct 20 2020, 09:08 AM
No matter how well we clean our teeth and gums, our mouths are full of bacteria, both good and bad. Good bacteria help balance out the bad bacteria, which cause cavities by creating a biofilm at the gumline known as plaque. This thick, sticky plaque builds up over time and cannot be removed by brushing alone. That plaque biofilm is what we remove at your dental appointment by scraping your teeth with a dental pick.
As for removing the bacteria, there are also ways to do that at your dental cleaning. One way is by the use of a product called stannous fluoride. Though effective at killing bad bacteria in the mouth, unfortunately, stannous fluoride also kills the good bacteria in your mouth throwing your oral biome off and potentially causing antimicrobial resistance.
As a result, many dentists are hesitant to use stannous fluoride, but a new product in development at the University of Illinois may someday help prevent cavities in a different way.
A metallic nanoparticle coating is under development at the University of Illinois and has so far shown promise in laboratory exams. Though not yet tested on humans, clinical trials could be close. The nanoparticle solution works by being painted onto the teeth, much like stannous fluoride does. But instead of killing the good and bad bacteria in the mouth, these nanoparticles work by preventing biofilm from forming on the teeth in the first place.
By simply preventing biofilm, the bacteria which make up the oral biome would remain intact, and help keep balance in the mouth without cavities forming. Cavities are considered one of the most common health crises in America, with over thirty percent of some age groups suffering from tooth decay and caries of some kind. Cavities don’t just look and feel bad, either. They cause loss of school days and loss of money by missed work to deal with them.
So, when can we hope to get this new product in our hands - and our mouths? According to the team at the University of Illinois, hopefully soon. In the meantime the best way to reduce cavities is simple: brush your teeth twice a day, floss at least once a day, and don’t forget to visit Dr. Abelar at least twice a year for your exam and cleaning!