A study published in November's Archives of Oral Biology explores how the active ingredients in popular antacids could help fend off gingivitis. If the work holds up in subsequent studies in people, the compounds could one day find themselves widely available in oral care products like toothpaste and mouthwashes.
"The American diet and the constant drip of sugar allows little time for the natural repair of teeth. All day, it's a cycle of acidic erosion and repair – or at least, it should be – but our constant sucking on hard candy and guzzling sodas with high fructose syrups leaves little time for repair," said Robert Marquis, Ph.D., of the University of Rochester Medical Center. Marquis, an internationally recognized expert on the bacteria that inhabit our mouths, is the study's lead author.
The team studied a compound known as lansoprazole, part of a family of compounds known as benzimidazoles that already have a range of uses, primarily controlling stomach hyperacidity and killing Helicobacter pylori (the bacteria responsible for stomach ulcers). Now, the compounds are brandishing potent antimicrobial actions that interfere with the dirty work of other types of bacteria that cause plaque buildup and gingivitis.
Such bacteria make their home on unbrushed teeth, which become coated with plaque, a filmy substance that, under a microscope, appears as a teeming sea of hundreds of bacteria. Among these are gingivitis-causing bacteria that break down sugars and amino acids into toxins that are harmful to our gums.
Unchecked, an accumulation of plaque and an overgrowth of these ravenous, toxin-oozing bacteria leads to one of the body's natural immune responses, inflammation, where bacteria-fighting cells are recruited to the gums to fight off the infection. Unfortunately, instead of just fending off the bacteria, the immune response also inflicts damage to the healthy gums. In the case of an intense infection, the battle drags out and results in more devastation to the gums, or gingivitis.
Since gingivitis can be a preamble for periodontal disease – an oral inflammation so persistent that it destroys the bone where the teeth anchor, causing them to fall out – researchers at the University of Rochester and Göteborg University in Sweden decided to focus on Fusobacterium nucleatum, an especially hardy bacterial troublemaker that plays a crucial role in setting the stage for gum disease.
When it's not secreting irritating chemicals itself, F. nucleatum acts as a binding site for other dangerous oral bacteria that cannot directly attach to tooth surfaces on their own. These bacteria, dubbed "secondary colonizers," rely on the help of F. nucleatum, which serves almost like an aircraft landing strip atop an aircraft carrier, allowing planes (or in this case, bacteria) to set down. With the help of F.nucleatum, these dangerous bacteria now have a place to "land" and create the damage that causes periodontal disease and tooth decay.
"It acts as a transitional organism, welcoming the bacteria which couldn't survive there on their own, and moving the infection from above the gum line to below it," said Marquis, professor of both Microbiology & Immunology and Oral Biology.
That's where lansoprazole comes in. When the oral environment becomes acidic – a telltale sign of bacteria at work – lansoprazole is chemically modified to kick into action, disabling F. nucleatum and preventing it from producing toxins or serving as a landing site. Once the oral environment returns to normal, the lansoprazole simply switches off.
"Benzimidazoles aren't just for acid-reflux anymore," said Marquis, whose research project was supported by the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research. "We've shown their promise for preventing cavities in previous research, and now, perhaps even some protective benefits to guard against gingivitis. It's not unthinkable that one day these compounds might be more broadly used to promote dental health in toothpastes and mouthwashes."
Rebecca Jones | EurekAlert!
Researchers develop eco-friendly, 4-in-1 catalyst
25.04.2017 | Brown University
Transfecting cells gently – the LZH presents a GNOME prototype at the Labvolution 2017
25.04.2017 | Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V.
More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.
Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...
Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.
"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...
The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.
Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...
The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...
Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.
Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...
20.04.2017 | Event News
18.04.2017 | Event News
03.04.2017 | Event News
25.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
25.04.2017 | Materials Sciences
25.04.2017 | Life Sciences