“We thought this could be a new way of approaching the problem of ECCs that would intervene in the synergistic interaction between bacteria and yeast,” says Geelsu Hwang, an assistant professor in Penn Dental Medicine and senior author on the study.
Compared to current drugs used that harm the healthy tissues by killing all oral microbes, the new treatment specifically targets the pathogen.
Earlier findings like the sticky symbiosis between the bacteria and yeast is hard to displace from the tooth surface due to the cross-kingdom binding by glycosyltransferases in the bacteria.
Using three different mannan-degrading enzymes on the biofilm present in a tooth-like surface in a human saliva medium, the researchers observed drastic reductions in the biofilm thickness and interactions between bacteria and yeast in a less conductive environment to tooth decay.
This observation gives an insight about the well-tolerated enzymes with less application time that can be used for children as a preventive measure against ECC.