Imagine! An effective vaccine for cavities, so adults and kids alike can enjoy delicacies without worrying about cavities and tooth decay. Well, scientists have been scratching their heads for the solution for about 40+ years.
Vaccines and the science behind it:
Vaccines promote an immune response towards the targeted germs. The desired effect is achieved through two methods.
- Our body produces antibodies in response to injecting a weakened form or a small part(antigen) of the pathogen. Hence, these antibodies are stored in the cell’s memory for a long time and become active whenever the body encounters a real threat.
- The second form of immunization is achieved through the direct injection of antibodies in the body. This sort of immunization is fast but short-lived.
Isolating the bad boy:
Scientists have isolated and recognized Streptococcus Mutans (S.mutans) as a significant cause of cavities. S.mutans is one of the earliest residents of the oral cavity.
These germs stick firmly to the tooth enamel and form a colony known as plaque. Plus, the germs survive the cleansing action (brushing), so it is not easy to get rid of them.
Afterward, in excess of sugary foods, the germs break down the molecules of sucrose into lactic acid. Lactic acid reacts with the tooth enamel and erodes it. Therefore, leading to tooth decay.
Attempts to produce vaccine for cavities:
After the scientists have identified the primary cause, many have attempted creatively to eliminate the problem. However, despite their earnest efforts, only a few vaccines made it out for human trials.
Few scientists like Marin A.Taubman and Julian Ma made effective vaccines. After identifying and extracting an antigen, they both applied the antigen to the teeth. The antibodies produced in response didn’t allow the S.mutans to stick effectively on the teeth.
Such vaccines showed promising results on lab rats. Rats, like humans, are particularly fond of sugary treats. Interestingly, both teams administered the vaccine into the body through mucosal glands instead of the bloodstream.
Ma produced a large reap of antigens using genetically modified Tobacco plants. “You can grow fields of the stuff, and this is incredibly cheap,” he remarked. His vaccine made out for human trials. The volunteers were given the vaccine for up to six weeks and a total of six applications.
In the trials’ conclusion, Ma found out the vaccine would protect the teeth for up to four months.
Why, up till now, we don’t have a vaccine for cavities?
Vaccines for cavities has been an area of research for more than 40 years. Nonetheless, we don’t have a commercial vaccine for cavities, so why is that?
In addition to technical difficulties, few vaccines make out to large scale human trials due to the lack of funding. Only after successful human trials and FDA’s approval, a drug is available to the public.
Your Best defense:
Until an effective vaccine hits the market, your dentist is your ally in the fight against cavities. Know more about any oral problem your kid encounters through our website. In addition, you can call us at: 832-300-8444.