New evidence on how fluoride fights tooth decay

May 01, 2013
New evidence on how fluoride fights tooth decay

In an advance toward solving a 50-year-old mystery, scientists are reporting new evidence on how the fluoride in drinking water, toothpastes, mouth rinses and other oral-care products prevents tooth decay. Their report appears in the ACS journal Langumir.

Karin Jacobs and colleagues explain that despite a half-century of scientific research, controversy still exists over exactly how fluoride compounds reduce the risk of . That research established long ago that fluoride helps to harden the enamel coating that protects teeth from the acid produced by decay-causing bacteria. Newer studies already found that fluoride penetrates into and hardens a much thinner layer of enamel than previously believed, lending credence to other theories about how fluoride works.

The report describes new evidence that fluoride also works by impacting the adhesion force of bacteria that stick to the teeth and produce the acid that causes . The experiments—performed on artificial teeth (hydroxyapatite ) to enable high-precision analysis techniques—revealed that fluoride reduces the ability of decay-causing bacteria to stick, so that also on teeth, it is easier to wash away the bacteria by saliva, brushing and other activity.

Explore further: Pterostilbene, a molecule similar to resveratrol, as a potential treatment for obesity

More information: Reduced Adhesion of Oral Bacteria on Hydroxyapatite by Fluoride Treatment, Langmuir, Article ASAP DOI: 10.1021/la4008558

Abstract
The mechanisms of action of fluoride have been discussed controversially for decades. The cavity-preventive effect for teeth is often traced back to effects on demineralization. However, an effect on bacterial adhesion was indicated by indirect macroscopic studies. To characterize adhesion on fluoridated samples on a single bacterial level, we used force spectroscopy with bacterial probes to measure adhesion forces directly. We tested the adhesion of Streptococcus mutans, Streptococcus oralis, and Staphylococcus carnosus on smooth, high-density hydroxyapatite surfaces, pristine and after treatment with fluoride solution. All bacteria species exhibit lower adhesion forces after fluoride treatment of the surfaces. These findings suggest that the decrease of adhesion properties is a further key factor for the cariostatic effect of fluoride besides the decrease of demineralization.

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Most people brush their teeth in the wrong way

May 15, 2012

Almost all Swedes brush their teeth, yet only one in ten does it in a way that effectively prevents tooth decay. Now researchers at the Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg, are eager to teach Swedes how to brush ...

Studies advise on fluoridated toothpaste use in children

Jan 20, 2010

Parents should use toothpastes that contain fluoride with a minimum concentration of 1,000 parts per million to prevent tooth decay in their children, says a new report. Preventing tooth decay can help reduce the need for ...

Recommended for you

Why plants don't get sunburn

Oct 29, 2014

Plants rely on sunlight to make their food, but they also need protection from its harmful rays, just like humans do. Recently, scientists discovered a group of molecules in plants that shields them from ...

Viral switches share a shape

Oct 27, 2014

A hinge in the RNA genome of the virus that causes hepatitis C works like a switch that can be flipped to prevent it from replicating in infected cells. Scientists have discovered that this shape is shared by several other ...

'Sticky' ends start synthetic collagen growth

Oct 27, 2014

Rice University researchers have delivered a scientific one-two punch with a pair of papers that detail how synthetic collagen fibers self-assemble via their sticky ends.

Cell membranes self-assemble

Oct 27, 2014

A self-driven reaction can assemble phospholipid membranes like those that enclose cells, a team of chemists at the University of California, San Diego, reports in Angewandte Chemie.

Emergent behavior lets bubbles 'sense' environment

Oct 27, 2014

Tiny, soapy bubbles can reorganize their membranes to let material flow in and out in response to the surrounding environment, according to new work carried out in an international collaboration by biomedical ...

User comments : 2

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

Pressure2
3 / 5 (2) May 01, 2013
Could it be that fluoride simply kills bacteria? The fluoride used in Crest and Colgate tooth paste kill the living skin cells lining the inside of my mouth if I use it more then a couple of weeks.
Good Bad and Ugly
1 / 5 (1) May 10, 2013
but fluoride ACCUMULATES IN THE PINEAL GLAND..!!-RIGHT?????????????

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.