Something to Chew On: Keeping Those Pearlies Healthy
Tinanoff also notes that there is "good evidence" that chewing gum with xylitol (a type of sugar) actually reduces caries in children's teeth.
And there are other, more fanciful ideas in the hopper.
Peter Milgrom, DDS, of the University of Washington, referred to new electric toothbrushes and toothpaste tubes that come with timers and beep if not opened every day. And there's also the thought of making toothpaste tubes that send email to your dentist if it is not opened often enough.
Back to Earth -- How about treating those cavities?
It's still primarily "drill and fill," a basic treatment model that hasn't changed in 100 years, says Amid Ismail, BDS, of the University of Michigan School of Dentistry. Science may bring further advances, however.
"Some of our more basic research is looking at how we could even take extensively diseased teeth and apply biomimetic materials -- materials that mimic biology -- and be able to regenerate tooth structure," Kleinman says.