Saliva protects teeth more than thought
Once thought to do little more than keep spit slippery and elastic, salivary mucins – the mucus in our saliva – has been found to actively protect teeth from the bacteria that causes cavities.
For their study, the researchers at Harvard University and M.I.T. focused on how salivary mucin affects the ability of bacteria to attach to teeth and form a biofilm--which is how cavities form. Their analysis showed that while salivary mucins do not alter levels of bacteria or kill them. they do keep bacteria suspended in a liquid film and this reduces their ability to form cavity-causing biofilms on teeth.
The scientists said their findings suggest that boosting the body’s natural defenses might be a better way to prevent tooth decay than relying on external agents like sealants and fluoride treatments.
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