Primary root caries easily reversed
Cavities remineralised thanks to milk, probiotics and fluoride
The following reports on an ingenious way of reversing cavities in the root of teeth as tested in a study owed to Swedish researchers. While certain strains of probiotics are known to exert beneficial effects against those oral bacteria which are implicated in tooth decay and gum disease, fluoride is a two-edged sword since it is actually toxic and can damage teeth, gums, and body in the long run (see Toothpaste: hazardous to dental and bodily health?).So personally I would not take fluoride internally and be most cautious about external application as well. I am still reporting on this study since the simple method used for the remineralisation of cavities is impressive - in fact, even more so since it was tested on older adults (with the oldest participant being 84).
What is primary root caries (definition)
Primary root caries refers to a cavity which begins on the tooth root below the cemento-enamel junction (see Glossary: the tooth). Initially, there is no involvement of the adjacent enamel or any dental work (restorations). It is actually recognised that this kind of cavity can be arrested and remineralised. In contrast, secondary root caries refers to cavities on the tooth root adjacent to an existing restoration.
Daily intake of milk plus fluoride and probiotics reverses primary root caries in older adults
Swedish researchers recruited 160 healthy subjects (aged 58-84 years) with two or more "soft and leathery" primary root caries lesions. Divided into four study groups, each group drank 200 ml of milk once daily for 15 months. Group 1 (placebo) consumed standard milk, group 2 drank milk supplemented with 5 ppm fluoride and Lactobacillus rhamnosus (probiotic bacteria), group 3 ingested milk with probiotics only and group 4 had milk only supplemented with fluoride.
While 61 participants did not complete the study, group 2, 3, and 4 all showed significantly higher numbers of root caries reversal than group 1. The strongest effect occurred in group 2 and 4, i.e. the groups that also received fluoride. Interestingly, Streptococcus mutans counts (the microorganism held responsible for creating cavities) did not change significantly.
1 Reversal of primary root caries lesions after daily intake of milk supplemented with fluoride and probiotic lactobacilli in older adults
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