The health of your mouth mirrors the condition of your body’s health as a whole. Research shows that more than 90 percent of all systemic diseases (involving many organs or the whole body) manifest themselves orally: swollen gums, mouth ulcers, dry mouth and/or excessive gum problems. Such systemic diseases include diabetes, cancer, heart disease, kidney disease, and leukemia. Bottom line: great oral care equates to better health.
But what if you could brush your teeth with toothpaste that ensures that cavities will be a thing of the past? What if you could eat candy with a property that prevents plaque from forming on the surfaces of your pearly whites?
Armed with knowledge of the structure and mechanism of the enzyme responsible for the plaque that cakes your teeth, professors Bauke Dijkstra and Lubbert Dijkhuizen from The Groningen University can push forward to identify the substance that inhibits the enzyme glucansucrase. The bacterium Streptococcus mutans uses glucansucrase to attach itself to the tooth enamel, ferment sugar-releasing acids that in turn dissolve the calcium in teeth. This is how cavities occur and why this bacterium is the main cause of tooth decay.
Read more about the structure, mechanism, and evolution of glucansucrase: