By Susan Braden
Parents may now have a cheap dental method to keep their kids cavity-free, thanks to new developments by oral biologists. Scientists are developing a candy designed to fight cavities with a product called Cavistat. Afflicting almost 60% of kids, tooth decay is the most common disease in children, according to Pew Center on the States. This product, however, may soon be a tasty answer for parents looking to keep their children's teeth healthy.
In the past eight years, tooth decay in children has risen 28%, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). This may be due to excess consumption of cheap, sugary, processed foods and lack of proper brushing. Cavistat, containing all-natural food ingredients, was created to imitate the affects of saliva.
Scientists know that saliva plays a key part in fighting cavities, but they never knew exactly how until recently. After $1 billion and at least 40 years of their research, oral biologist Dr. Israel Kleinberg of New York’s Stony Brook University thinks he may have discovered the reason why. He found that saliva’s chemistry allows it to balance the pH levels in the mouth, neutralizing the acidity that comes from eating food.
As a result, he created a mint candy with some of the same compounds as saliva, accelerating its effects. He studied children who ate two of the mints twice a day over a period of two years, and compared them with children who did not have the mints. He found that the children who ate his mints had 68% fewer molar cavities than those who did not. He hopes to reduce the number of cavities even more with this cheap candy solution.
Cavistat has two primary tooth-protecting functions. It contains arginine, an amino acid which neutralizes sugar-generated acid by metabolizing certain bacteria. It imitates the pH-balance function of saliva, adding to what saliva already does to help prevent tooth damage. The second function of this product is to protect tooth enamel through its other helpful chemical compounds. An amino acid can combine with the calcium in Cavistat to stick to the teeth, forming a protective layer so tooth enamel doesn’t dissolve.
Dr. Kleinberg thinks this product could be a cheap dental solution to decrease the affects of tooth decay and protect children from damaging their teeth early. Dentists continue to recommend that parents instill good oral hygiene habits in their children at a young age to help prevent cavities. If mass-produced, this mint may become a great help.