09:11 AM

“Bombing” Away Tooth Decay

By Doyle Williams, Chief Dental Officer

Tooth decay better watch out; there’s a new oral health weapon on the horizon – and it comes in liquid form.

The new (and not yet approved for release to market) “Smart bomb” mouthwash, developed by Wenyuan Shi, chair of the oral biology section of the UCLA School of Dentistry, targets S. mutans, the strain of bacteria largely responsible for tooth decay.

This smart mouthwash works by targeting only the harmful bacteria, the S. mutans, without damaging helpful bacteria. In other words, it identifies the bad guys and bombs them away while leaving the good guys to carry on with their regular job of protecting your mouth.

A “Smart Bomb” mouthwash study has been published in the November issue of the Caries Research journal. The next step is getting FDA approval. If approved, this mouthwash would be the first preventive drug developed to fight tooth decay since fluoride. I always get excited about the potential for new ways to stop tooth decay. I’ll keep watching the progress of this drug, and report back if it’s approved.

February is National Children's Dental Health Month and that means a great opportunity to remind parents and caregivers to teach their children that cavities are preventable! Coach your children to brush their teeth twice a day, and to floss daily. Encourage them to eat healthy foods and to drink beverages that are not high in sugar. And make sure they visit a dental care provider at least once a year for a check up.

Having more preventive measures against tooth decay is one of the best ways to make sure our children keep their teeth healthy.