How would you like to eat chocolate to prevent tooth decay? According to two researchers who have discovered a molecule that can kill tooth decay-causing bacteria, you may be able to do just that in as little as one-and-a-half years.
Jose Cordova, from Yale University, and Erich Astudillo, from the University of Chile, have been collaborating since 2005 on a process that helped them create the molecule they have named “Keep 32,” which has the ability to kill the Streptococcus mutans bacteria in the mouth. S. mutans bacteria are responsible for producing the corrosive lactic acid in the mouth after they break down sugars in food. The acid damages tooth enamel and causes tooth decay.
Keep 32 can eliminate harmful oral bacteria within 60 of contact and keep the mouth free of bacteria for several hours after. The molecule, whose name is derived from the 32 teeth found in an average adult mouth, is currently undergoing health and safety tests. Once approved, the two researchers believe Keep 32 can be added to oral care products, and even food products, to promote better oral health. They have already applied for a patent on the process of producing the molecule and they believe they could start marketing the product after at least a year-and-a-half. The researchers believe their discovery could earn as much as $300 million once it’s out in the market in the first year alone.
Even with current advances in oral health care, tooth decay continues to be a problem which recent studies have also associated with other health problems. Since the discovery of fluoride (the oral benefits of which have been widely debated in recent years), a significant breakthrough in oral health care has been a long time coming and Keep 32 promises to be just that breakthrough, if the claims are proved safe and valid.