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Newly discovered molecule could cavity-proof teeth

Keep 32 molecule destroys bacteria, could be added to regular household products and foods, scientists say.

Dentist sugar cavity bacteria molecule 7 10 12Enlarge
Christmas candy and candy canes stand on display for sale at the Christmas market at Gendarmenmarkt square on the market's opening day on November 21, 2011 in Berlin, Germany. The Keep 32 molecule may make candy more tooth-friendly. (Sean Gallup/AFP/Getty Images)

Good news for the chronically dentist-phobic: a new molecule has been discovered that eats the bacteria that causes cavities, with exciting implications for the future of tooth care. 

Scientists from Yale and the University of Santiago have worked together since 2005 to find the Keep 32 molecule according to the Diario Financiero newspaper, which destroys the cavity-causing Streptococcus mutans bacteria.

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Streptococcus mutans is the leading cause of tooth decay worldwide, and is present in just about everyone. It works like this: when the unsuspecting carrier consumes a sugary food, the bacteria busily metabolizes it, creating cavity-causing lactic acid.

That's where Keep 32 comes into the picture. The molecule allegedly can kill the destructive bacteria in a mere 60 seconds.

Keep-32 could potentially be added to a wide range of products, including mouthwash, toothpaste, and even candy. 

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The scientists, Jose Cordova of Yale and Erich Astudillo of the University of Santiago, now have a provisional patent on the molecule, and hope to carry out human trials soon, with an eye to releasing a range of Keep-32 laden products in the near future.

The duo hope to sell the license to hygiene and confectionery companies like P & G, Colgate, and Hershey's, among others.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/science/120710/newly-discovered-molecule-could-cavity-proof-teeth