For thousands of years, man has practiced mouth rinsing as a way to tackle dental problems such as tooth decay, gingivitis and halitosis. Mouthwashes have included such ingredients as salt, olive oil, herbs, water and alcohol all of which provided different levels of success as dental treatments. However, for the first time ever, scientists have developed a mouthwash that has been specifically designed to target and kill Streptococcus Mutans, the primary oral bacteria associated with causing tooth decay.
The human mouth is filled with countless species of oral bacteria, all of which are essential for breaking down food particles and simple sugars deposited on teeth after eating and drinking. When the bacteria band together to do their work, the result is a community that forms the sticky film known as dental plaque. That compound typically plays host to over 600 types of bacteria, including the infamous Streptococcus Mutans, the one strain that has been linked to triggering off tooth decay in its hosts. The new mouthwash that has been submitted to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) targets the specific bacterium and the claims who are currently being investigating by the agency.
The yet to be named miracle mouthwash has been under development in UCLA laboratories for over a decade, courtesy of the dedicated efforts of Wenyuan Shi, the chair of the oral biology section at the school. The mouthwash formula was tested on 12 patients and researchers found that those who rinsed with the mouthwash were free of the tooth-eroding bacteria, up to four days after rinsing.
Dr. Shi, the mastermind behind the medicinal mouthwash has suggested that his creation (backed by the financial muscle of dental care product producers Colgate-Palmolive) is the first of its kind to specifically target the harmful Streptococcus Mutans bacteria, while leaving the rest of the oral bacteria essential for dental health intact. The methodology used for the dental care treatment is new antimicrobial technologies that will specifically target anti-microbial peptides (called STAMP).
The new mouthwash is unlike any other dental treatment on the market and Dr. Shi has equated the way it works to one of a precise pesticide that will only kill weeds, not healthy plant life incorporated in the mix (http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-504763_162-57329010-10391704/smart-bomb-mouthwash-aims-to-end-tooth-decay-will-it-work/).
Traditional mouthwashes have been created to kill as many oral bacteria as possible and if the product is overused or utilized incorrectly, an oral cavity can be thrown into a state of imbalance and side effects are possible. Some risks associated with mouthwashes currently available for sale include:
The FDA will not only test the new product to verify if it is effective, but to also determine any potential side effects of the mouthwash. FDA approval at this stage of the game will allow for more research and testing of the product. The final approval process can take years, and if the mouthwash is authorized for release, it will be the very first preventative dentistry drug targeting tooth decay since the fluoride was approved.
While the announcement surrounding the new dental care product has created a buzz among dentists and industry insiders, it can take many years until consumers can actually purchase the product. That is why practicing oral hygiene now is essential to combating dental problems and maintaining dental health.
Dentists and science have proven that daily brushing and flossing are the best behaviors for effectively removing dental plaque and the high levels of Streptococcus Mutans that may be present in the compound. Combining those efforts with a healthful diet, exercise and regular dental exams and cleanings from a licensed dentist is the best way to effectively reducing the tooth killing film.