Recent research shows that saliva protects teeth against cavities more than we thought. Saliva is mostly water with .5% of it being mucus. Mucus contains salivary mucins, which are compounds that actively protect teeth from damage by cavity causing bacterium.
It was previously thought that salivary mucins did little more than keep mucus in saliva slippery and elastic; but now it looks as if they play an active role in defending against pathogens. The research findings can be found in the journal Applied and Environmental Microbiology.
Salivary mucins prevent S. mutans (tooth decay bacteria) from forming a biofilm – cavities are caused when S. mutans are attached to the tooth or in a biofilm on the tooth’s surface. Salivary mucins keep S. mutans suspended in a liquid medium, thus not allowing it to form a biofilm.
To read more about this research, click here. If you have any questions or concerns about cavities, call Dr. Cirocco’s office today at 215-249-0520.