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    Scientists: Pill to Ward Off Cavities Could Happen

    Researchers spotted a strain of 'good' bacteria in the mouth that helps keep 'bad' bacteria under control

    WebMD News from HealthDay

    By Robert Preidt

    HealthDay Reporter

    FRIDAY, March 11, 2016 (HealthDay News) -- A new discovery might one day lead to an anti-cavity pill, researchers report.

    The University of Florida scientists identified a strain of bacteria in the mouth that may keep cavity-causing bacteria in check.

    The investigators said it might be possible to use this beneficial bacteria to develop a supplement taken by mouth that prevents cavities.

    A healthy mouth requires a relatively neutral chemical environment, the researchers explained. When the environment in the mouth becomes too acidic, it can lead to cavities and other dental problems, study lead author Robert Burne said in a university news release.

    "At that point, bacteria on the teeth make acid, and acid dissolves the teeth. It's straightforward chemistry," said Burne, chair of the department of oral biology at the University of Florida College of Dentistry. "We got interested in what activities keep the pH elevated."

    The seemingly beneficial bacteria the researchers discovered is a strain of streptococcus called A12, according to the study published recently in the journal Applied and Environmental Microbiology.

    The researchers also mapped out the entire genetic code of A12, and said they hope to use it as a tool to screen people to see who is at higher risk of developing cavities.

    According to study co-author Marcelle Nascimento, "If we get to the point where we can confirm that people who have more of this healthy type of bacteria in the mouth are at lower risk of cavities, compared to those who don't carry the beneficial bacteria and may be at high risk, this could be one of the factors that you measure for cavities risk." Nascimento is an associate professor in the College of Dentistry's department of restorative dental sciences.

    The research team recently received a five-year, $3 million grant from the U.S. National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research to study A12 and related bacteria in the mouth.

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    Only 18.5% of Americans never floss. You are missing out on a simple way to make a big difference in the health of your mouth. Regardless of how well you brush, plaque still forms between your teeth and along your gums. Floss removes food trapped between the teeth and removes the film of bacteria that forms there before it turns to plaque, which can cause inflamed gums (gingivitis), cavities, and tooth loss. Try flossing just one tooth to get started.

    You are one of 31% of Americans who don't floss daily. You are missing out on a simple way to make a big difference in the health of your mouth. Regardless of how well you brush, plaque still forms between your teeth and along your gums. Toothbrush bristles alone cannot clean effectively between these tight spaces. Flossing removes up to 80% of the film that hardens to plaque, which can cause inflamed gums (gingivitis), cavities, and tooth loss. Aim for 3 more days!

    You are one of 31% of Americans who don't floss daily, but you're well on your way to making a positive impact on your teeth and gums. Regardless of how well you brush, plaque still forms between your teeth and along your gums. Toothbrush bristles alone cannot clean effectively between these tight spaces. Flossing removes up to 80% of the film that hardens to plaque, which can cause inflamed gums (gingivitis), cavities, and tooth loss. Aim for all 7 days!

    Only 50.5% of Americans floss daily, and good for you that you are one of them! Regardless of how well you brush, plaque still forms between your teeth and along your gums. Toothbrush bristles alone cannot clean effectively between these tight spaces. Flossing removes up to 80% of the film that hardens to plaque, which can cause inflamed gums (gingivitis), cavities, and tooth loss. Congratulations on your good oral health habit!

    SOURCES:

    American Dental Association, Healthy People 2010

    This tool is intended only for adults 18 and older.

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