Oral health experts are suggesting that an enzyme produced by mouth bacterium inhibits dental plaque.
The finding could eventually lead to the development of toothpaste that harnesses the body’s own plaque-fighting tools.
The team of scientist from Japan show that the bacterium, Streptococcus salivarius, a non-biofilm forming and otherwise harmless inhabitant of the human mouth, actually inhibits the formation of dental biofilms – or plaque.
The bacteria produces two enzymes that are responsible for this inhibition.
The research is published in the March 2011 issue of the journal Applied and Environmental.
Author, Hidenobu Senpuku, of the National Institute of Infectious Diseases in Tokyo, says of one of the enzymes: ‘FruA may be useful for prevention of dental caries. The activity of the inhibitors was elevated in the presence of sucrose, and the inhibitory effects were dependent on the sucrose concentration in the biofilm formation assay medium.
‘We show that FruA, produced by S. salivarius inhibited S. mutans biofilm formation completely in the in vitro assay supplemented with sucrose.’
S. salivarius is the primary species of bacteria inhabiting the mouth, according to the report.
The authors suggest that FruA may actually regulate microbial pathogenicity in the oral cavity.
They found that a commercial FruA, produced by Aspergillus niger, was as effective as S. salivarius FruA at inhibiting S. mutans biofilm formation, despite the fact that its amino acid composition is somewhat different from that of S. salivarius.
FruA is produced not only by S. salivarius, but by other oral streptococci.