A team of scientists has reportedly discovered an ingredient in an herb that could provide the foundation for a ground-breaking natural anti-cavity treatment.
An Unknown Treasure
The herb is called Chinese gall, or by its scientific name, Galla Chinesis. It has previously been used as an anti-oxidant as well as a treatment for viruses, diarrhea, liver damage, and cancer.
According to Medical Daily, researchers from the West China School of Somatology and Amsterdam’s Academic Center for Dentistry came upon the herb’s dental applications when they were using a mass spectrometer to test the abilities of its different ingredients.
It turns out that Chinese gall’s key ingredient prevents bacteria from producing acid that causes tooth decay and cavities. This ingredient also mineralizes teeth so they are more resistant to these specific types of acids in general.
“To maintain a healthy mouth, the oral environment must be relatively neutral. When the environment in the mouth becomes more acidic, dental cavities or other disorders may develop,” wrote Bentham Science Publishers, which publishes the journal the research can be found in.
Targeting Plaque And Acid
Before arriving at their discovery, the team tested hundreds of Chinese herbs to see their effect on biofilms similar to plaque and the natural, cyclical changes in pH that occur in the mouth.
The latter action decreases the thickness of the teeth, making them more likely to break down following contact with the aforementioned acids. Fluoride, a natural mineral, has been proven to decrease the likelihood of dental caries and is therefore added to public water supplies in the US.
This practice has reportedly reduced cavities and tooth decay in children and adults by approximately 25%. But, the researchers noted, fluoride does not guarantee protection from dental caries, nor does it cure cavities or tooth decay.
Fluoride Version 2.0?
“With these new findings, the research team is working with the industry to develop new oral care products,” Bentham Science Publishers concluded.
Such products would not function as a replacement for fluoride, which maintains the strength of the tooth’s outer surface, a.k.a. tooth enamel.
They would instead work in conjunction with fluoride-rich water to decrease the likelihood of oral problems. Should human beings consume enough fluoride and anti-cavity products on a regular basis, they might hardly ever have to visit the dentist, if at all.