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A new weapon is emerging in the dental care arsenal that is focused on fighting the effects of tooth decay.
Popular Mechanics, the technology magazine, has named Oragenics' SMaRT Replacement Therapy bacteria strain at the top of its 20 New Biotech Breakthroughs That Will Change Medicine list.
The therapy, which the company says culminated after 25 years of research, isolates a strain of Streptococcus mutans. This bacteria sits on the surface of the tooth and converts sugar in one's diet to lactic acid, which causes tooth decay.
Dr. Jeffrey Hillman, along with his research team, has found a way to produce a small amount of antibiotic from the bacterial strain with the ability to kill off similar types of bacteria.
Essentially, the researchers were successful in eliminating the gene responsible for producing lactic acid.
"We are committed to bringing the science of SMaRT to the dental industry and consumers worldwide as an effective, life-long method of preventing tooth decay," Hillman said.
Tooth decay, if left untreated, can lead to other conditions such as heart disease and diabetes. The American Dental Association recommends people administer routine dental care and schedule regular dental checkups to avoid developing the condition.
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