With medical research being what it is – a science, it tends to make many of the mistakes common in other scientific fields. Opting to go for a new route instead of investigating a previously explored avenue is one of these major flaws that cost a lot of time and resources. Another one would be the researchers’ tendency to ignore things that would at least put off a large number of interested parties.
But enough beating around the bush, and let’s talk about how a team of researchers from the University of Florida is working on a probiotic pill treatment for cavities. It’s pretty much what it sounds like, but even if the team manages to finish the research, many would most likely want nothing to do with the medicine.
For those of you who don’t know what a probiotic treatment means, let me get into some detail. The point is that the treatment may sound disgusting to some, even though they have no reasons to worry – being tested by the FDA, no medicine can actually pass if containing traces of other people’s bodily fluids.
Now that you’re closer to your understanding of what this probiotic treatment would mean, let’s start talking about it. The team of researchers on the project found a bacterium in the human mouth that can break down the chemicals in there and can most likely help prevent cavities.
Cavities develop when the pH level in the mouth loses its neutrality, becoming either acidic or basic. If the dial goes either way, the teeth start being affected by other bacteria in the mouth and you start getting cavities. But some people are more prone to getting them than others.
According to the team, those others have a harder time getting cavities because of two compounds in the mouth – arginine and urea. Both are used to break mouth chemicals into ammonia in order to neutralize the pH, and they are generated by certain bacteria.
According to the study’s lead researcher Dr. Marcelle Nascimento, they identified a bacterium called A12 that can help metabolize arginine. Here is part of a press release:
We may be able to use this as a risk assessment tool. If we get to the point where we can confirm that people who have more of this healthy type of bacteria in the mouth are at lower risk of cavities, compared to those who don’t carry the beneficial bacteria and may be at high risk, this could be one of the factors that you measure for cavities risk.
So, the researchers are working on a pill that would help generate arginine, effectively neutralizing the pH in your mouth and preventing cavities from appearing. Although millions, if not billions would take benefits from the medicine, there will most certainly be those proclaiming it unsafe because it’s using bacteria.
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