A new chemical that is currently being tested could soon make trips to the dentist a long lost and painful memory. This chemical actually helps to make teeth ‘cavity proof’ as it targets the source of the decay, the bacteria that causes it. Dental cavities are caused by a bacteria known as ‘streptococcus mutans’ and it is this bacteria that makes any sugars in the mouth turn into lactic acid, which in turn then erode the tooth enamel. Once the tooth enamel has eroded, it is easy for dental decay to occur. The new chemical, called Keep 32, named after the 32 teeth a human being has in their adult mouth, kills this particular type of bacteria and in tests was shown to wipe it out within 60 seconds.
The chemical is being designed by scientists in Chile, and has been tested for around seven years say Hispanic researchers José Córdoba from Yale University and Erich Astudillo from the University of Chile. In fact, if all goes well with the human trials and testings, it is thought that a marketable product could be seen within 14 to 18 months. At present, the chemical is such that it could be simply added to any toothpastes, chewing gums, mouthwash, or other dental product to create a ‘super cleansing’ product that would eliminate bacteria in minutes. And tests so far have shown that a single dose protects the mouth for several hours. The chemical Keep 32 could even be added to certain foods although there is no talk as yet of whether it would be added to the water supply, as fluoride has been.
The great thing about Keep 32 is that it is a preventative compound as by exterminating the bacteria, it stops the damage occurring to teeth before it happens. The researchers are now hoping to licence the patent to chemical manufacturers such as Procter and Gamble. They say, “We are currently in talks with five interested in investing in our project or buy our patent.” If the chemical Keep 32 really does work as the researchers say it does, there will be a lot of interest from not only the dental companies but the food industries as well, and in particular companies that currently provide tooth care products. One industry that possibly will not see an advantage are the dentists but there are always enough people who want to have cosmetic dentristry to keep them in work!