Beijing: Researchers have developed a small protein that coats tooth surfaces, helping prevent new cavities and heal existing ones, an advance that may lead to oral gels that can be applied safely to prevent dental caries. According to the researchers, including those from The University of Hong Kong, cavities, or dental caries, are the most widespread non-communicable disease globally. They said getting a cavity drilled and filled at the dentist’s office can be painful, but untreated caries may lead to worse pain, tooth loss, infection, illness, and sometimes even death.
In the study, the researchers aimed to prevent colonisation of the tooth surface by plaque-forming bacteria which cause cavities, and reduce demineralisation, or the dissolving of tooth enamel while natural repair processes take shape. They developed an anti-cavity coating based on a natural antimicrobial small protein called H5 which is produced by the human salivary glands.