The discovery of a new cavity can be a disheartening experience for patients expecting a general checkup. For many patients, the idea of having developed a new cavity is a combination of anxiety-inducing, embarrassing, and the cause of financial worry. Dental patients who are living with a diagnosis of dental anxiety may find this situation even more trying than others. Given that 61% of the population has been diagnosed with one degree of dental anxiety or another, a hope for a future without cavities is one that brings relief to many.
One Magnificent Breakthrough Resulting From Two Previous Studies
Through scientific rigor and a study based on two previous bodies of research, a new molecule was discovered that could make cavities a thing of the past. The first of the discoveries that led to this new molecule was a peptide known as peptide histamine 5. Discovered in our saliva, it was found to have antimicrobial properties that were specifically effective against streptococcus mutans, the primary bacteria responsible for tooth decay.
The second discovery unveiled the properties of a chemical compound known as phosphoserine. This remarkable substance was revealed to have the ability to cause dental enamel to undergo remineralization. Seeing the potential these two substances unlocked, a study was begun that was published in a journal in January of 2020. The purpose of the study was to create a new peptide that combined these substances in an attempt to create a new way to protect teeth. The results were notable, including:
- The enamel formed a strong bond with the molecule
- Decay was suppressed in teeth that had formed this bond
- Enamel that had bonded began to undergo remineralization and reconstruction
- Buildup of plaque was noted to be reduced in the presence of this compound.
Peptides, like proteins, are formed of a combination of multiple amino acids. They’re generally smaller in size than proteins, with structures that are less defined and functions that quite different from that of proteins.
The efficacy of this new material was notable. Patients who had tartar and plaque on their teeth that were administered this substance were noted to be nearly free of these biofilms 24 hours later. Without these biofilms, it was more difficult for bacteria to reform on the teeth and thus for the enamel to be weakened by their acids. These studies were published in the ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces journal.
The Need To Maintain Oral Hygiene Habits Remains
Even with this amazing substance being developed and studies, it will continue to be necessary to practice standard oral hygiene. For the time being, these practices are the only way to protect our gums from gingivitis and periodontal disease, as well as other health problems. A normal oral hygiene routine includes the following practices:
- Brush for at least two minutes each morning and night
- Floss between each of your teeth when you brush
- Follow your brushing by using mouthwash
- Visit your dentist biannually
Ongoing studies will continue to explore the potential this substance seems to contain. In the meantime, the above practices are essential to protecting your oral health over time. It’s also important that you make sure your next dental visit is scheduled in the interest of maintaining lasting oral health. Make the call today!