Special Candy Helps Fight Tooth Decay

By: Sharon Bell

When it comes to dental health, candies are often a no-no. Dentists are quick to tell patients to avoid sticky sweets since they greatly contribute to tooth decay and other dental problems.

But researchers have recently found a new way for candy lovers to have their way. They're developed a special kind of candy that not only satisfies a person's sweet tooth but fights cavities as well.

This sweet news comes from Stony Brook University School of Dental Medicine in New York that developed an experimental fluoride-free treatment that is sure to bring a smile to children's (and adult's) faces everywhere.

The new treatment is packaged as a mint candy but contains an active compound known as CaviStat. Researchers said this compound mimics a component in human saliva that neutralizes tooth-destroying acids in the mouth.

"Unlike regular candies, we want this product to be stuck in the teeth," said Mitchell Goldberg, president of Ortek Therapeutics Inc, a private company in Roslyn Heights, New York, that licensed the technology from Stony Brook.

"Goldberg said in a telephone interview that unlike sugarless gum, which fights cavities by temporarily increasing the flow of saliva in the mouth, the mints actively neutralize acids that cause cavities," explained Julie Steenhuysen in Yahoo! News.

The mints that are marketed under the brand name of BasicMints were initially tested in 200 children in Venezuela. The subjects - aged 10 1/2 to 11 - were getting their adult molars but still had some baby teeth left.

Half of the kids took two mints each in the morning and night after brushing with fluoride toothpaste. The rest simply brushed twice a day with fluoride toothpaste and took plain sugarless mints.

"After 12 months, children who took the cavity-fighting mints had 61.7 percent fewer cavities than the placebo group. The soft mints are designed to be dissolved and chewed into the biting surfaces of the back teeth, where about 90 percent of cavities in children occur," Steenhuysen revealed.

The study was published in the Journal of Clinical Dentistry and Goldberg is confident it won't be long before the product is approved by the US Food and Drug Administration. That's certainly good news for all of us.

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