Sophisticated enzymatic treatment could prevent tooth decay in children

Dental plaques form a coalition of bacteria and yeast that are linked by sugar chains. It is on these sugars that the new treatment is aimed. Resisting sugar is not easy, as well as following the right procedures when brushing your teeth. Therefore, people, especially children, are often prone to tooth decay. A new treatment that uses enzymes to weaken dental plaque, a biofilm that constantly forms on the teeth and leads to tooth decay, could now help.
According to experts from the American University of Pennsylvania, dental plaque usually consists of the bacteria streptococci Streptococcus mutans and the yeast Candida albicans. Streptococci support each other with yeast. They even connect to each other, using mannan polysaccharide molecules from the yeast cell wall, which associate with glycosyltransferase enzyme molecules produced by streptococci.
Attack on dental plaques
Today, there are drugs that target streptococci in the oral cavity. But they usually also kill useful bacteria without affecting the plaque itself. Geelsu Hwang and his team therefore came up with a new approach. Instead of the bacteria or yeast themselves, they attack their joints, ie the mannan molecules.

In experiments, they tried three different enzymes that break down mannan. They let them act on biofilms placed on a tooth-like surface. After only 5 minutes of exposure to the enzymes, the biofilm was significantly weakened, which was then much easier to remove by brushing teeth and similar procedures. The advantage of such treatment is that resistance to it develops worse. In the future, similar enzymes could appear, for example, in children’s mouthwashes and similar preparations.


People and also cities have a characteristic staff of microbes

Recently, we often hear about microbiomes – specific communities of bacteria and viruses that animals, including humans, have in their intestines. It turns out that they have a surprising effect on human health and participate in the functioning of organs to which one would not say it at first glance. According to a new study by an international team of experts, this is basically the same for cities.
Research leader Christopher Mason of Cornell University in the United States and colleagues collected samples with microbes on surfaces in public transportation and hospitals from 60 cities in 32 countries around the world. In the period between 2015 and 2017, there were a total of 4,728 samples.
When the researchers analyzed the samples and read the discovered genome sequences, they came across 4,246 known species of viruses, bacteria and archaea. In addition, they also discovered 10,928 species of viruses and 748 species of bacteria, which they did not find in any available database and are therefore new to science. The 31 species discovered were common to 97 percent of cities, and the remaining thousands of species formed specific microbiomes of each city. The results of research could be used in epidemiology, in the development of new drugs, and also in forensic medicine.