Last updated on April 16, 2014 at 7:51 EDT

Researchers Develop Chewy Cavity-Fighting Candy

April 9, 2008

Venezuelan children involved in a recent study conducted by researchers at Stony Brook University School of Dental Medicine were instructed to do something radically different from the advice of their parents: they were encouraged to eat candy.

The candy contained fluoride-free BasicMints, a treatment developed by researchers at Stony Brook. BasicMints is a fluoride-free treatment that mimics a component in human saliva that neutralizes acids that can erode tooth enamel.

Overall, 200 children in Venezuela between ages 10 and 11 took part in the study.

Their findings, published in the recent issue of the Journal of Clinical Dentistry, showed that children who ate BasicMints, which contains a compound called CaviStat, had 68.3 percent fewer cavities than children in the placebo group after six months, and 61.7 percent fewer cavities after one year.

“Cavities affect the quality of life for millions of children every year by causing them pain, to miss school days and cost billions of dollars to repair annually,” said Dr. Israel Kleinberg, the lead researcher and inventor of the CaviStat technology and Distinguished Professor and Founding Chairman of the Department of Oral Biology and Pathology at the State University of New York at Stony Brook. “This study shows for the first time that this new fluoride-free, cavity-fighting tool has the potential to significantly improve the oral health of children.”

CaviStat is patented by researchers at Stony Brook and licensed to Ortek Therapeutic Inc. Mitchell Goldberg, president of Ortek, said the company plans to seek U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval to begin testing the product in the United States this year.

Goldberg said that the mints are designed to fight cavities by temporarily increasing the flow of saliva in the mouth. The mints actively neutralize acids that cause cavities.

“Unlike regular candies, we want this product to be stuck in the teeth,” said Goldberg.

Cavities are the most common disease among children. Almost half of all children get their first cavity by second grade, and almost 80 percent have at least one cavity by the time they graduate from high school.

“We are truly excited about the results demonstrated by BasicMints in this new study and are looking forward to working with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to bring this new cavity-prevention technology to market,” said Goldberg.

On the Net:

Stony Brook University’s School of Dental Medicine

Ortek Therapeutics Inc.

Journal of Clinical Dentistry