What if preventing cavities was as simple as taking a supplement?

By Melissa Willets
March 14, 2016
boy at dentist
Credit: Shutterstock

You know how some people say nothing is worse than getting a paper cut (of course plenty of things are worse!)? I've always said nothing is worse than having cavities. Ugh. Getting a cavity filled is akin to torture if you ask me. There's only one thing more unpleasant than enduring your teeth being drilled into, and that's watching your child go through it!

Luckily, now there's hope for cavity-haters like myself. New research out of The University of Florida and published in Applied and Environmental Microbiology suggests something as simple as a pill may ward off cavity-causing bacteria using—get this—other bacteria!

According to HealthDay, cavities love when your mouth gets too acidic; it's the perfect environment for them to form. "At that point, bacteria on the teeth make acid, and acid dissolves the teeth," explains the study's lead author Robert Burne. "It's straightforward chemistry. We got interested in what activities keep the pH elevated."

It turns out a strain of healthy bacteria called A12 might do just that.

"If we get to the point where we can confirm that people who have more of this healthy type of bacteria in the mouth are at lower risk of cavities, compared to those who don't carry the beneficial bacteria and may be at high risk, this could be one of the factors that you measure for cavities risk," elaborates study co-author Marcelle Nascimento.

And if you are at a higher risk, a supplement may help to balance you out, and prevent future drilling sessions. Um, where do I sign up?

Melissa Willets is a writer/blogger and a mom. Follow her on Twitter (@Spitupnsuburbs), where she chronicles her love of exercising and drinking coffee, but never simultaneously.