Protein drugs, which are made from biological sources, represent some of the most important biopharmaceutical breakthroughs currently on the market. Some of these types of drugs, such as insulin, have been used by health professionals for decades, while many more offer exciting treatment potentials for family dental care in Sandy, OR.
However, major advances in this field for dentistry has been few and far between due to high costs, and the fact that the ones current available are administered invasively, often through surgical procedures, to gum tissue.
Now, a report from researchers at the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Dental Medicine suggests a new approach for delivering a protein drug designed to prevent and treat dental disease, including cavities. Using plants to create antimicrobial peptides, researchers were successfully able to quickly eliminate oral bacteria that causes tooth decay and halt their ability to form biofilms on simulated tooth structures after just a single applied treatment. The peptides were even more successful when combined with an enzyme that degrades the matrix that normally surrounds and protects harmful oral bacteria.
Additionally, researchers showed that these peptides – created from plant-based materials – could be introduced into gingival and periodontal cells, indicating this type of treatment could be successful in treating diseases that impact gum tissue, perhaps by promoting bone regeneration or wound healing.
Compared to current biopharmaceutical products, this latest breakthrough offers a potentially non-invasive treatment alternative able to attack disease causing bacteria and promote healthier gums that’s also not cost prohibitive to produce.
The results of the study were published in the journal Biomaterials.
A New Treatment for Oral Disease
Tooth decay predominantly impacts kids and adults of a lower socioeconomic status and results in over $40 billion a year in health care spending.
Previous research has identified antimicrobial peptides that are effective at eliminating decay causing bacteria. However, these peptides have proven expensive to produce and have shown limited success at killing bacteria protected by an extracellular matrix, as what helps protect dental plaque.
In this latest study, researchers attempted a new approach, combining the antimicrobial peptides with the enzyme that works to breakdown extracellular matrixes. Researchers created a plant-based peptide and then tested whether the agent could actually prevent creation of biofilm. They exposed a saliva-coated tooth-like structure to the plant-made substance for half an hour, then exposed the surface to oral bacteria linked with the development of plaque.
Researchers found that the plant-based peptide was able to breakdown 60 percent of the matrix and kill even more harmful oral bacteria. Researchers say the effectiveness of their new compound was comparable to chlorexhidine, which is widely viewed as the premiere form of oral antimicrobial therapy.
Protecting Your Oral Health
The reason this type of breakthrough means so much for better family dental care in Sandy, OR is the role poor oral health can play in impacting an individual’s overall health. In recent years, a growing amount of research has found compelling links between an individual’s oral and overall health. Studies have shown that individuals suffering from tooth decay and gum disease have a significantly higher risk of developing a range of chronic illnesses that include cardiovascular disease, diabetes, dementia and cancer.
By preventing the formation of plaque, researchers open the door to potentially preventing tooth decay and finding a permanent solution for the destruction of oral disease causing bacteria. Combined, this type of breakthrough offers the promise of healthier smiles and bodies for patients everywhere.