Interestingly, the NIH’s National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research notes that dental caries (tooth decay) is the most common chronic disease in both children and adults in the United States, but it is largely preventable. More about that later.
The fact that tooth decay is so prevalent is what is prompting the research team at WIOV to develop a vaccine. That and everybody knows how reluctant people are to visit the dentist. Patients are sure to line up around the block to get a jab that could potentially mean they don’t have to visit the dentist again. (Related: Whiten your teeth naturally, without chemicals.)
The WIOV team has found that by fusing the bacteria Streptococcus mutans (S. mutans) – the primary cause of cavities – with proteins from strains of E. coli bacteria and a protein taken from flagella proteins, they can create a formula for at least partially protecting teeth from decay, with only a minor risk of side effects.
Somehow, this absolutely disgusting sounding concoction has a 64.2 percent success rate at keeping teeth clean and a 53.9 percent chance of reversing tooth decay, the vaccine researchers claim. No explanation is given, however, to explain how a vaccine is supposed to remove decayed food particles from teeth and gums.
Interestingly, even though this vaccine will likely have a direct impact on the business and income of many dentists, they all seem to be greeting the idea with extreme excitement.
“Any realistic scientific development which could help reduce the impact of tooth decay is welcome,” Dr. Nigel Carter, chief executive of the Oral Health Foundation, told the Mail. “This study shows initial promise, however, there may be a substantial wait, involving clinical trials before anything can be rolled out at a patient level.”
And Dr. Richard Marques, a Harley Street dentist, enthused, “This sounds like a fantastic development in dentistry. Preventing tooth decay through vaccination would totally change the dental situation of many children and adults around the world.”
All these comments would make it seem like tooth decay is not preventable, but that is simply not true.
Dr. Stephen J. Gershberg, himself a dentist in Pennsylvania, explains that there are many ways in which patients cause their own misery. Among the top 10 causes of tooth decay he includes:
Poor Oral Hygiene Practices: Poor oral hygiene not only includes brushing your teeth regularly, but not flossing regularly, [and] not brushing your tongue. You should brush your teeth at least twice a day.
Improper Nutrition: Avoiding foods that are high in sugar, high in carbohydrates and high in acid is the best way to avoid tooth decay due to improper nutrition. Eating a healthy diet, which includes healthy foods and the avoidance of sugary acidic drinks is the way to go.
Sugary Foods: Sugary foods are the best friends of the bacteria in your mouth. The bacteria in your mouth literally feed off of sugary foods, and then begin to coat your teeth in damaging acid. ... When thinking of sugary foods, you more than likely think of “candy” and things like that, when in fact, there are many foods that contain “hidden sugars.”
Acidic Foods and Drinks: [M]any common foods which people consume on a daily basis contain acid. Shockingly, even foods such as fish and bread contain acid. Of course, carbonated beverages such as soda, as well as fruit juice are all acidic agents which cause tooth decay. … [A]cidic foods and drinks immediately begin to damage tooth enamel with their own acid.
So, for the most part, we develop tooth decay and cavities when we make poor nutritional choices and don’t practice good oral hygiene. There is no “magic” shot needed to solve this problem. We all just need to make good choices and work a little harder to protect our teeth.
Stay up-to-date with all the excellent – and crazy – developments in dentistry at Dentistry.news.