Cavities in the past: decoded the enzyme responsible for plaque


07/12/2010

Professor Bauke Dijkstra from the city of Groningen in the Netherlands, deciphered the structure and functional mechanism of the enzyme glucansucrase, which is responsible for the formation of plaque on the teeth. This will help to find substances that stop the harmful effects of the enzyme. Suffice it to add that substance to toothpaste, or even sweets, and caries will become a problem of the past.

The results of the study were published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) this week.

Researchers at the University of Groningen estimate the enzyme, taking it from the lactic acid bacterium Lactobacillus reuteri, which is present in the oral cavity and digestive tract of humans. Bacteria use this enzyme to convert dietary sugar into long, sticky sugar chains and their uses as adhesives. The bacteria adhered to the tooth enamel and then fermented sugar. A by-product of fermentation, are acid, corrosive calcium in teeth. This forms cavities.

Dijkstra said that in the future the enzyme blockers glucansucrase, can be added to toothpastes and mouthwashes. "But it may be added, even sweets," - he suggests. "Lock sugars will not harm your teeth." But even then, the toothbrush does not lose its relevance, "will always need to brush your teeth."


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