UCLA researcher have announced a discovery that should have garnered more attention in the media: a mouthwash that could effectively eliminate dental cavities. The study details how the researchers have been able to eliminate S. mutans bacteria – the main cause of tooth decay — while not killing good bacteria that helps fight tooth decay. Current mouthwash products act like nuclear bombs — killing good and bad bacteria indiscriminately. The scientists used new antimicrobial technology known as specifically targeted anti-microbial peptides, or STAMP.
This might not be good news for the dental industry. The research was funded by Colgate-Palmolive to develop a “smart bomb” to kill only harmful bacteria. Lead researcher, Dr. Wenyuan Shi says that “With this new antimicrobial technology, we have the prospect of actually wiping out tooth decay in our lifetime.” He compared that effect to how an herbicide kills both weeds and surrounding healthy grass. “We let the mouth grow grass, and we prevent the weeds from coming back.” This is why scientists make lousy ad executives. We grow grass in your mouth is not likely to be the final marketing slogan for Colgate-Palmolive.
Personally, I want to see the movie where a shadowy group of dentists called Opus Dent fights scientists known as the Priory of Stamp to destroy the formula that would end tooth decay. The secret location was hidden by Leonardo da Vinci in the hidden teeth of the Mona Lisa. The day is saved by a law professor who heroically and brilliantly learns the code. Now that is a movie.