Despite more than fifty years of scientific research, controversy still exists over exactly how fluoride compounds reduce the risk of tooth decay. New evidence from German researchers suggests that fluoride helps to reduce the adhesion of bacteria to teeth. The study is published in the American Chemical Society (ACS) journal Langumir .
Researchers from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), Washington University in St. Louis and the Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute have discovered that acne bacteria, which thrive in the oily pores of skin, consist of “bad” strains associated with pimples and “good” strains that may protect the skin and keep it healthy. The finding may help dermatologists develop new, strain-specific treatments for acne. The research is published in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology.
A team of researchers led by Dr. Michael McAlpine of Princeton University have developed a gold- and carbon-based biosensor that can be affixed to a tooth . The purpose of the sensor, which is made up primarily of a very strong form of carbon called graphene, is to detect sequences of DNA that are specific to pathogenic bacteria.
A case of so-called “mad cow disease” was found in a California dairy cow last week. The disease, known to veterinary scientists as bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), is fatal, and can be transmitted from cow-to-cow or cow-to-human through the ingestion of contaminated tissue. There is no evidence BSE spreads to humans — the human form of the disorder is called Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease — through drinking milk. As such, authorities claim that the infected animal (which is being held and will be destroyed) posed no risk to humans.
Xylitol, or birch sugar, is a sugar naturally found in plums, strawberries, raspberries, and rowan berries. It is often used to sweeten toothpaste and chewing gum since it is as sweet as sucrose but does not cause tooth decay; this is because it cannot be fermented by bacteria that live in our mouths, and instead inhibits their growth. As the key step causing acute ear infections is the colonization of the middle ear by bacteria that move there from the mouth, researchers have hypothesized that xylitol might help prevent acute ear infections as well as tooth decay.
Researchers at the University of Toronto recently performed a meta-analysis of three Finnish studies and found that children who chewed gum — or took other products laden with xylitol, including lozenges or syrup — had about a 25% lower risk of developing an ear infection compared to controls. The study is published in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews .