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Will Colgate's 'self-destructing bacteria' mouthwash mean the end of tooth decay?

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mouthTOOTH decay could be ended forever thanks to a top secret clinical trial aimed at getting rot-causing bacteria to self-destruct.

The research, funded by toothcare giant Colgate-Palmolive, has highlighted Streptococcus mutans (S.mutans) as the bacteria which causes cavities by releasing tooth-corroding acid whenever you eat sugar.

This super-tough microbe is even immune to the strongest mouthwash.

But now the Colgate-Palmolive team have come up with a designer molecule called C16G2 which seeks out S.mutans and inserts itself in or attaches itself to the cell membrane, causing the bacterium to self-destruct.

Volunteers were asked to wear mouthpieces containing cows teeth for a defined period and the results showed that those using the new S.mutans busting mouthwash showed no signs of tooth softening while the control group showed early signs of decay.

Also the study showed that for the group using the mouthwash healthy bacteria had moved in on S. mutans‘ turf. The researchers mention that previous studies have shown that once healthy bacteria have taken over all the territory in the mouth, S. mutans can have a hard time getting another foothold.

Dental clinician Stephen Street said: “This is a small trial so far but the results are significant. If they are borne out this new antimicrobial peptide could make that tooth decay history. It will be consigned to textbooks along with rickets and small pox.”

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