Dr Mark O'Donnell B.D.S
Monday - Thursday
Tuesday and Friday mornings
News - May 2016
Could a probiotic pill prevent dental cavities?
Dealing with cavities could one day be as simple as taking a supplement to keep unwanted bacteria in check, according to findings published in Applied and Environmental Microbiology.
Dental cavities are a huge problem, exacerbated by consumption of sugary foods and drinks, lack of oral hygiene and not paying regular visits to the dentist. For the mouth to stay healthy, pH levels must be neutral. Too much acid can cause dental cavities or other disorders.
Researchers at the University of Florida (UF) College of Dentistry have discovered a new strain of bacteria that could keep bad bacteria under control, and pave the way to using probiotics to prevent cavities.
Part of the answer is a previously unidentified strain of Streptococcus, currently called A12. Over 2,000 bacteria were screened, and of these, A12 had all the properties needed to prevent cavities probiotically. Researchers hope to use the findings to develop a screening tool for people with a higher risk of developing cavities, alongside other factors, such as diet and oral hygiene habits. If they can confirm that people with a higher level of A12 develop fewer cavities, A12 could be used to measure for cavity risk.
Then, just as we might use a probiotic approach to the gut to promote health, a similar strategy could be effective for the mouth.
Cigarette smoking alters the mouth microbiotaSmoking significantly changes the mouth's microbiome, with potential implications for tooth decay and the ability to break down toxins, according to results published in the ISME (International Society for Microbial Ecology) Journal.
Pancreatic cancer risk linked to changes in mouth bacteriaThe presence of certain bacteria in the mouth may indicate a raised risk of pancreatic cancer – a disease that often begins with no symptoms and for which there is no routine screening test. This was the main conclusion of a study led by NYU Langone in New York, USA.
Gum disease may be treatable with bioceramic material
Gum disease is a major cause of tooth loss and is a challenge to treat. Now, new research suggests that silicon nitride – a ceramic material used in spinal implants – could lead to effective new gum disease treatments.
Periodontitis is a serious, chronic, non-communicable gum disease that damages the soft tissue and bone that support the teeth. Estimates suggest that it affects 15-20% of adults between the ages of 35 and 44 years.
The disease starts when the bacterium Porphyromonas gingivalis infects the tissue around the teeth, giving rise to gum inflammation. If this is not treated, the condition progresses and the bacteria begin to eat away at the bone around the teeth.
Untreated gum disease not only leads to tooth loss, but it also raises the risk of heart attack or stroke. Treatment options include deep cleaning – such as scaling and root planing – to remove the built-up plaque that harbours bacteria, plus antibiotics and surgery.
However, awareness that P. gingivalis – like other types of bacteria – perishes on contact with the surface of silicon nitride, has led researchers to wonder if this could lead to a new type of treatment.
In the journal Langmuir, a multidisciplinary team from Japan and the US described how, after only six days of exposure, the chemical reactions with the ceramic material degraded the nucleic acids in the bacterial cells, which, in turn, dramatically reduced their ability to produce essential proteins and fats.