Preventing Tooth Cavities with an Inhibitor

Researchers at the University of Alabama at Birmingham have created a small molecule that prevents tooth cavities in a preclinical model. The inhibitor blocks the function of an enzyme in an oral bacterium and prevents it from forming biofilms. Specifically the inhibitor causes Streptococcus mutans (S. mutans) which is the prime bacterium that causes tooth decay and dental cavities, to not make the sticky bioflim that has it glue to a tooth surface. The selective inhibition of the sticky biofilm acts against S. mutans reduced dental caries in rats fed a diet intended to promote cavities. The glucan biofilm is made by three S. mutans glucosyltransferase (Gtf) enzymes. It is know what the crystal structure of the GtfC glucosyltransferase is, and the researchers used the structure to run numerous computer simulations for drug-like compounds for binding at the enzyme’s active site. Ninety compounds with diverse … Read more

Bacteria and Fungus Can Team Up to Cause Cavities

An interesting article titled “Symbiotic relationship between Streptococcus mutans and Candida albicans synergizes the virulence of plaque-biofilms in vivo,” appears in the February 2014, edition of Infection and Immunity, written by Megan L. Falsetta and et al. The article describes how although Streptococcus mutans is often cited as the main bacteria in dental caries (cavities), particularly in early-childhood caries (ECCs), it may not act alone and may team up with Candida albicans. The infection with both can double the number of caries and increase their severity as it did for rats in the study. Candida albicans adheres mainly to the cheek and tongue, while Streptococcus mutans sticks to the surfaces of teeth by converting sugars to a sticky glue-like material called extracellular polysaccharide (EPS). The researchers found that the exoenzyme that S. mutans uses to react with sugar to produce EPS also … Read more