Dutch researchers have discovered a way to fight tooth decay and cavities by adding an inhibitor to toothpaste or even to the food we eat. In identifying the character and structure of the enzyme making the plaque adhere to the teeth surfaces, they have discovered an approach to intensify the battle against dental caries.
By means of protein crystallography, researchers at the University of Groningen were able to decipher the 3-D structure of glucansucrase, the enzyme that allows bacteria to convert sugars into long, glue-like sugar chains and stick themselves to our teeth. In effectively crystallizing glucansucrase, they have identified the protein’s unique folding mechanism that can be directly targeted by inhibitors without affecting the function of other enzymes necessary in our digestive tracts.
Hence, tooth brushing will not just scrub plaque away, but with the use of toothpaste laced with inhibitors, it could prevent plaque from adhering to the enamel. For chocolate lovers and the likes, the inhibitors could even be incorporated to your favorite sweets or deserts to avert bacteria from producing plaque in your mouth. Such a sweet deal indeed.