July 13, 2012

No More Cavities?

Connie K. Ho for - Your Universe Online

Soda. Candy. These are just a few of the things that can erode a person´s teeth. A few investigators looked into this problem and recently discovered a possible solution. These scientists recently revealed that they have created a new chemical that could allow teeth to be “cavity proof” and make it so that patients never have to visit the dentist again.

The molecule, called “Keep 32” after the 32 teeth found in the mouth, is part of a chemical designed by Jose Cordoba of Yale University and Erich Astudillo of the Universidad de Santiago in Chile that can clean out all the bacteria caused by cavities in approximately 60 seconds. The chemical could possibly be combined with dental care products that are currently available, making chewing gum, mouthwash, and toothpaste into “super cleaners” that can get rid of the bacteria that causes tooth decay. The two are looking into licensing the patent to dental hygiene companies, such as Procter and Gamble, or candy companies, such as Cadbury or Hershey´s.

We are currently in talks with five interested in investing in our project or buy our patent,” the researchers told the  HYPERLINK Daily Mail.

The product works in a particular way. The chemical focuses on “streptococcus mutans,” which are bacteria found in the mouth that change sugar into lactic acid. The lactic acid is found to erode tooth enamel. “Keep 32” can exterminate the bacteria and stop the damage before it happens. The product is thought to be effective several hours after use, keeping the mouth “cavity proof” for that time. The product has been tested the past seven years and is now slated to be examined in human trials.

Researchers believe that the product could be available on the market in about 14 to 18 months and possibly be mixed in with foods to stop bacteria damaging the teeth as people eat. According to CBS News, Cordoba and Astudillo believe that the product has the possibility of earning $300 million in revenue within the first five years of being sold.

"The molecule can not only be incorporated into a gum, but in products like toothpastes, mouthwashes, dental floss, candies, lollipops, dental night gel and others who items that can be kept inside the mouth for at least 60 seconds," commented Astudillo, also CEO of Top Tech Innovations,  in a Diario Financiero Online article.

The announcement of “Keep 32” follows recent reports that state that cavities are a significant dental issue for the U.S. population. This past March, a New  York Times article described how the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that there was an increase over a five-year period in the number of preschoolers who had cavities. This change was the first seen in 40 years. As well, dentists throughout the country stated that they are seeing an increase of preschoolers at all income levels who have as many as six to 10 cavities. Many of these young patients are in need of general anesthesia as the tooth decay is so severe. As well, a CBS News article highlighted how one in five Americans have at least one cavity that is untreated.