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Shedding Light in the Darkness

Chinese Herb To Prevent Tooth Decay

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAChinese researchers from the West China School of Stomatology recently discovered that water extract of the herb Galla chinensis has potent anticaries effects, effectively inhibiting acid production caused by caries-associated bacteria and increasing teeth’s resistance to acid.

Galla Chinensis (Wu Bei Zi, also known as Chinese gall or Chinese sumac) was found to have “strong potential to prevent dental caries due to its antibacterial capacity and tooth mineralization benefit.” The herb also has antiviral, anticancer, hepatoprotective, antidiarrheal and antioxidant activities.

According to the authors, “Galla chinensis water extract has been demonstrated to inhibit dental caries by favorably shifting the demineralization/remineralization balance of enamel and inhibiting the biomass and acid formation of dental biofilm.”

It’s too early to start using the herb in dental applications, because the researchers have yet to identify the active ingredient responsible for these anticaries activities.

“In the present study, several Galla chinensis extracts with different main ingredients were obtained and determined by liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry analysis,” said Xuelian Huang, Ph.D., DDS, the lead author. “The antibacterial capacity was determined using the polymicrobial biofilms model, which can generate reproducible plaque-like biofilms that occur in vivo.”

The researchers are working with industry partners to develop new oral care products.

Chinese researchers have also developed a material based on an extract from green tea that may help prevent cavities as well.

 

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