Strep & Cavities?

Cavities May Soon Be a Thing of the Past

In 2016, researchers at the University of Florida revealed a surprising way to fight cavity causing oral bacteria. In a most unusual twist, they discovered a new, previously unknown strain of good oral bacteria that can ward off the harmful ones. It belongs to the Streptococcus family and is named A12.

This works similarly to taking a probiotic for the gut. Knowing good bacteria can be harnessed to promote beneficial digestion and prevention of certain diseases, researches started to work on a theory for the mouth and oral cavity.

Since cavities often form from acidic PH levels in the mouth, researchers wanted to know how certain individuals maintain a more neutral PH balance and less decay than others.

Previous research found that ammonia production stimulates a neutral PH in the mouth by breaking down two compounds, urea and arginine. It had also been discovered that patients who had more ability to break these down had fewer cavities. Therefore, they hypothesized that there may be a bacteria that is working in a positive way to assist with this process.

In this Florida study, Characteristics Of A Highly Arginolytic Streptococcus Species That Potently Antagonizes Streptococcus Mutans over 2,000 types of bacteria were analyzed from plaque samples. Within this sampling, 54 bacteria were isolated that could break down the urea and arginine to stimulate ammonia. Additional analysis determined that of this 54, one appeared to work the most aggressively and is called “A12”.

The hope for this finding is that similarly to a probiotic for promotion of good bacteria in the intestinal tract, a formulation could be developed to introduce good bacteria into the mouth and oral cavity to fight cavities.

What was even more exciting was the discovery that A12 also kills Streptococcus mutans, which is an aggressive bacterium that raises oral PH levels that lead to caries development.

The researchers are now planning to test a model using A12 to determine patients for future risks based on healthy bacteria found in the mouth. Those who are found to be lacking in A12 could be provided a supplement to encourage this good flora to ward off caries production.

Dr. Frank Caffaratti of Caffaratti Dental Group states, “the benefit of this finding is that A12 could be harnessed into a probiotic that can be given to patients who are not producing A12. This could potentially lower their risks for cavities and plaque buildup. So the future is bright for proactively stimulating and promoting healthy oral PH levels, neutralizing acid in the mouth for better oral health.”

Caffaratti Dental Group has been caring for healthy smiles for over 35 years. Give us a call at (775) 358-1555 to schedule your consultation.