Enjoy candy without the cavities thanks to a UCLA professor of dentistry

Jan 29, 2008
Enjoy candy without the cavities thanks to a UCLA professor of dentistry

What Willy Wonka did for chocolate, UCLA microbiologist Wenyuan Shi is doing for lollipops.

Because of Shi, thousands of orange-flavored lollipops are rolling out of a factory in Grand Rapids, Mich., into the hands of people eager to lick them for one reason only. Shi and his lab team at the School of Dentistry have managed to make candy that's actually good for your teeth. The orange-flavored, sugar-free lollipop they devised is infused with a natural ingredient found in licorice that kills the primary bacterium causing tooth decay, Streptococcus mutans.

Marketed as Dr. John's Herbal Candy, the lollipop, now available for purchase through a candy manufacturer that licenses the technology from UCLA, is the first therapeutic developed by Shi. But he has many more in the works to target bacteria wreaking havoc in the nose, ear and gut, to name just a few.

It all emerges from a vision the microbiologist had eight years ago to apply a medical approach to dentistry - to identify the decay-causing pathogens among the 700 kinds of bacteria living in the human mouth, track their presence and then target them with antimicrobial "smart bombs" that he and his lab would engineer to kill the bad bacteria without harming the good.

And he's also working on kits to test for these devilish pathogens. "Part of my wild dream is that one day you will walk into the dentist's office and give a saliva sample to be tested, just as you would give urine and blood samples to doctors," said Shi, a professor with joint appointments in UCLA's dental and medical schools.

Source: UCLA

Explore further: Penis transplant offers hope to victims of botched circumcisions

Related Stories

Claims about the decline of the West are 'exaggerated'

3 hours ago

A new paper by Oxford researchers argues that some countries in Western Europe, and the USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand now have birth rates that are now relatively close to replacement, that the underlying trend in ...

Norway tests out 'animal rights cops'

4 hours ago

Norwegian police is creating a unit to investigate cruelty to animals, the government said Monday, arguing that those who hurt animals often harm people too.

Recommended for you

Game shows mosquito's-eye view of malaria

Apr 24, 2015

A new game about the life cycle of malaria that can be played on Android smartphones has been created by an Oxford University developer, based on malaria research at the University's Nuffield Department of ...

DMV program can generate additional organ donors

Apr 23, 2015

(HealthDay)—A brief, web-based training program for department of motor vehicles (DMV) employees that educates them about organ and tissue donation can increase the likelihood of customers registering as ...

User comments : 0

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.