Subscribe for daily wellness inspiration

Like onlymyhealth on Facebook!

Saliva Protects Teeth Against Cavities

By  ,  Onlymyhealth editorial team
Nov 13, 2014
4.8 / 5(4 Ratings)

Previously it was thought that salivary mucins - large glycoproteins - did little more than keep mucus in saliva slippery and elastic, contributing to its gel-like properties. But now it seems they play an active role in defending against pathogens and keeping the human microbiome healthy.

Cavities in TeethFirst author Erica Shapiro Frenkel, of Harvard University, and principal investigator Katharina Ribbeck, a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, both in Cambridge, MA, report their findings in the journal Applied and Environmental Microbiology.

Frenkel says their findings suggest boosting the body's natural defences might be a better way to prevent tooth decay than relying on external agents like sealants and fluoride treatments.

The researchers found that salivary mucins do not alter levels of S. mutans nor kill the bacteria over 24 hours. Instead, they keep the bacteria suspended in a liquid medium, and this in turn reduces their ability to form biofilms on teeth.

"This is particularly significant for S. mutans," Frenkel explains, "because it only causes cavities when it is attached, or in a biofilm on the tooth's surface."

A biofilm is a densely packed community of microbes that grow on surfaces and surround themselves with sticky polymers that they secrete.

Frenkel also points out that the oral microbiome - the collection of friendly bacteria in the mouth - is better preserved when naturally present species are not killed. "The ideal situation," she adds, "is to simply attenuate bacterial virulence."

Source: MNT

Image: Getty

Read more Health News.

Related Articles
4.8 / 5(4 Ratings)
Write a Review
Post a Comment
Disclaimer +
Though all possible measures have been taken to ensure accuracy, reliability, timeliness and authenticity of the information; Onlymyhealth assumes no liability for the same. Using any information of this website is at the viewers’ risk. Please be informed that we are not responsible for advice/tips given by any third party in form of comments on article pages . If you have or suspect having any medical condition, kindly contact your professional health care provider.