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A New Breakthrough in Cavity Prevention

Aug 30, 2018

By Dean George

In the 1970’s the newest form of tooth cavity prevention included fluoride exposure; specifically, water fluoridation in public water supplies, toothpastes, gels and fluoride varnishes.


More recently the natural sugar, Xylitol, was introduced as a cavity prevention tool, most commonly in chewing gum.

Originally introduced as a safe natural sugar for diabetics, subsequent dental studies revealed a 50-percent plaque reduction level was possible when Xylitol was absorbed for a few minutes five times daily.

Fast forward to today, and thanks to advances in nanotechnology, another oral health breakthrough may be on the cavity prevention horizon. It’s called ferumoxytol, and it’s a chemical commonly used to treat anemia.

When ingested, researchers found it causes biochemical reactions usually associated with proteins known as enzymes.  In short, thanks to what the National Institutes of Health calls the nanozyme effect, ferumoxytol produces bacteria-killing free radicals that help eliminate the bacteria that causes plaque.



Next, researchers wanted to see if ferumoxytol could protect the
tooth enamel that helps prevent tooth erosion. Using enamel collected and cultured from human teeth, researchers confirmed that in a controlled lab setting, ferumoxytol also helped maintain tooth enamel.

What followed next was use of a well-known rat model designed to imitate a kid's high sugar diet. Baby rats were fed a sugar-rich diet and exposed to concentrated plaque-causing bacteria ensuring tooth erosion.

Once tooth erosion was confirmed, ferumoxytol was given to the baby rats twice a day for three weeks. 

Researchers were reportedly surprised at the results. Not only did ferumoxytol reduce the tooth erosion damage by 50 percent, it eliminated the moderate and severe damage the teeth had experienced during the experiment.

The use of ferumoxytol in dental offices may still be awhile off yet, but because of its widespread commercial use in treating anemia, researchers are hopeful that one day soon it will be another weapon in combatting tooth cavities, particularly in children and teens.

Sources: huffingtonpost.ca, speareducation.com, nano.gov
Photo sources: kidsbestdentistnyc.com, youtube.com


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