This gentler strategy can help avoid childhood dental decay: Study. A new therapeutic strategy could help clear the structure while preserving oral tissue by identifying the bonds between bacteria and yeast that can form adhesive plaque, highlighting the findings of a new study that was being led by the researchers from the University of Pennsylvania.
The combination of a high carb diet and oral hygiene can leave children with young caries (ECC), a serious form of tooth decay that can have a lasting impact on their oral health and health.
A few years ago, scientists from Penn’s School of Dental Medicine discovered that the toothpaste that gives ECC is made up of both bacterial species, Streptococcus mutans and the fungus, Candida albicans. Both of these form adhesive adhesives, known scientifically as biofilm, which are very durable and difficult to remove from the surface of teeth.
Now, a new study from the group offers a strategy to disrupt this biofilm by identifying the interaction of yeast-bacteria that makes ECC plates less complex. In contrast to other current ECC drugs, which use antimicrobial agents that can have non-irritating effects, which can damage healthy tissues, this treatment uses an enzyme specific to the bonds that exist between bacteria.
“We thought this could be a new way of addressing the problem of ECCs that would interfere with the interaction between bacteria and yeast,” said Geelsu Hwang, assistant professor of Penn Dental Medicine and lead author of the study, published in mBio magazine. He said that this gives them another tool to disrupt this harmful biofilm.
The work builds on the findings of a 2017 paper by Hwang and colleagues, who found that molecules called mannans on the wall of a Candida cell were tightly bound to the enzyme secreted by S. mutans, glycosyltransferases (Gftb). In addition to making it easier to bind the anti-imperial regime, Gftb also contributes to the problem of dental biofilms by making gluel-like polymers called glucans in sugar.
While some ECC cases are treated with antibiotics directly, which may reduce the number of germs in the mouth, this does not always effectively break down biofilm and can have negative effects on “good” germs and soft tissues in the oral cavity.
Hwang and his colleagues wanted to try a different method that would directly identify the deceptive link between yeast and bacteria and chose to identify the numbers in Candida’s cell as a contact point.
Using the three enzyme-reducing enzymes in mannan, they applied each of the biofilm that grows in a tooth-like environment in a person’s saliva and left it for five minutes. Following treatment, they noticed that the total volume of the biofilm was reduced. Using powerful microscopy, they also observed significant reductions in biofilm thickness and interactions between bacteria and yeast. The pH of the surrounding scale was high when it was exposed to enzymes, which show a non-acidic environment and thus are not prone to tooth decay.
They also measured how easy it is to disassemble a biofilm after treatment, using a stress-relieving device, similar to a toothbrush.
Hwang said that the biofilm structure was very weak after enzyme treatment. He also said that they were able to see that the biofilms were easily removed.
To confirm their mechanism of action – that the enzymes that degrade manna weaken the binding between yeast and bacteria – the team used atomic microscopy to measure the bonds between Candida and Gftb. The treatment, which they received, reduced their binding capacity by 15 times.
Finally, they wanted to get a sense of how well these enzymes would be tolerated when used in the oral cavity, especially since children would be a targeted patient group.
Incorporating enzymes into human gingival cells in the culture, they did not experience adverse effects, or they use a concentrated form of enzymes. In addition, they see that treatment does not kill germs or yeast, which is a sign that it can work even if viruses initiate genetic mutations that can lend resistance to other treatments.
Investigators kept the installation time short by five minutes even though they hoped to see the work in a shorter time, such as the two minutes recommended for brushing teeth. Hwang says they can look at a non-alcoholic mouthwash with these extra enzymes that can be used by children as a way to prevent ECC.
Researchers hope to continue the pursuit of this potential in a more holistic way, including testing these enzymes in an animal model. With more success, they aim to incorporate another tool to combat the ECC public health threat.