Two professors, Bauke Dijkstra and Lubbert Dijkhuizen have found out the makeup and purposeful method of the glucansucrase enzyme. This is the enzyme that causes dental plaque and tartar that sticks to your teeth. This will enable further studies into what toothpastes should consist in order to stop the plaque from accumulating. This will ensure that carries and tooth decay can become a thing of the past very soon.
This research has found its way in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). The researchers went on to study glucansucrase from the lactic acid and the bacteria called bacterium Lactobacillus reuteri. This is present in the human mouth and digestive tract naturally. The bacteria use the glucansucrase enzyme to convert sugar from food into long, sticky sugar chains that stick on to teeth. They use this glue to attach themselves to tooth enamel and cause the plaque. The moment the bacteria get to your teeth they work on the calcium by releasing harmful acids and tooth decay starts.
The researchers found out that these enzymes have a structure that is three dimensional. This was the first time that they were able to crystalise glucansucrase. The crystal structure has showed that the folding mechanism of the protein is different. The various parts of the enzyme is not from one single amino acid but formed from two parts. This follows a folding mechanism.
This study has gone on to give the researchers far more profound and detailed study of the structure of these enzymes. It also gives them an idea of the enzyme and its working as a chain and the impact of sugar on teeth enamel.
According to Dijkhuizen, these precise inhibitors for the glucansucrase enzyme could be the ones that help bacteria to stick to the tooth enamel. The moment more is known about the makeup and the working of the enzyme is known scientists can work at creating the right inhibitors. The various inhibitors researched have been quite successful in blocking glucansucrase and the digestive enzyme amylase in the saliva. Both of these are the major culprits which break down the starch and sugar into amino acids.
This brings on the study and how it is going to be applied to things in the future. These inhibitors will be used in toothpastes and mouthwashes of the future. They might even be added to sweets to stop the bacteria from working on your teeth and causing any damage.