Over in Groningen, Professors Bauke Dijkstra and Lubbert Dijkhuizen have unraveled the complex relationship between bacteria and sugars in our mouths in an effort to get to the root of tooth decay. Figuring out why and how plaque sticks to teeth is a huge leap forward in finding a way to combat the problem. The tricky part will be how to block the bacterium streptococcus mutans (responsible for tooth decay) without also blocking the very similarly structured amylase enzymes that we need to break down starch.
Perhaps they should get in touch with Dr Damien Brady of the Athlone Institute of Technology in Ireland, who recently discovered that, when treated with digestive enzymes, the humble coconut oil proves a deadly killer of s. mutans.
In exchange, perhaps Professor Dijkhuizen could share his revolutionary new delivery system. He suggests that, as with fluoride, glucansucrase inhibitors could of course be added to toothpaste or mouthwash, “But it may even be possible to add them to sweets.”