Dentists are smiling over a new report that UCLA researchers have developed a new mouthwash that might make dental cavities go the way of the dodo bird, CBS Los Angeles reported.
For the study - published in the Nov. issue of the journal Carries Research - researchers tested the new mouthwash on 12 patients. After only one rinse, the mouthwash completely eliminated the S. mutans bacteria - the main cause of tooth decay. The patients were S. mutans-free for the entire four-day duration of the study.
How does the magic mouthwash work?
It uses a new antimicrobial technology known as specifically targeted anti-microbial peptides, or STAMP for short. The researchers developed it with financial support from toothpaste heavyweight Colgate-Palmolive. The lead researcher, Dr. Wenyuan Shi, calls the mouthwash a "smart bomb" since it eliminates harmful bacteria for an extended period of time.
"With this new antimicrobial technology, we have the prospect of actually wiping out tooth decay in our lifetime," Dr. Shi, chair of the oral biology section at the UCLA School of Dentistry, said in a written statement.
But how does this mouthwash differ from all those other antiseptic mouthwashes on the market? Don't they also fight cavity-causing bacteria?
Dr. Shi explained to CBS News that the mouth is a "true jungle," with over 100 trillion bacteria residing in it. But most of the bacteria doesn't cause tooth decay.
"99.9 percent of them are good guys," Shi said.