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Dental Smart Bomb

December 25, 2006

A new generation of "smart" dental rinses could help eliminate cavities.


A targeted dental weapon. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

In a few years, an occasional dental rinse may make cavities go the way of polio and smallpox. It’s being developed by oral biologist Wenyan Shi of the UCLA School of Dentistry and his colleagues. He explains that regular mouthwashes kill all the bacteria in your mouth, good and bad, and everything regrows very quickly. But recently, scientists identified the handful of bacterial species that actually cause dental plaque.

WENYUAN SHI (UCLA School of Dentistry):
So this novel idea we have, which is very different from any product on the market, is creating some kind of smart bomb. And only knock out the bad guy, and let the good guy take over the space.

That would make it much harder for the bad ones to get a toehold. Shi’s rinses have shown promise in the lab. The goal is a clinically-proven product that could be used weekly or even monthly. I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.