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Common Amino Acid Can Help Fight Plaque Build Up

Posted on 5/15/2015 by Tigard Family Dental
Salad with salmon on top on a wood tableAt Tigard Family Dental, our Tigard dentist and dental staff wants to ensure that every patient enjoys the very best oral health possible. Since you have a lot of choices when searching for a dentist in Tigard, our team wants every patient to know how much we value their oral health by bringing them the latest oral health news, including the most innovative industry breakthroughs. After all, the more patients know about their oral health, the easier it becomes for them to practice good habits and quality hygiene.

With that in mind, a new study has the potential of offering very exciting news regarding the future of oral health.

According to researchers, Arginine, a common amino acid naturally found in a variety of foods, helps to break down oral plaque. Researchers believe the compound could potentially help millions of people lower their risk of gum disease and cavities.

An Exciting Discovery

Researchers from the University of Michigan discovered that L-arginine, an amino acid most commonly found in red meat, fish, dairy products and poultry, and already frequently found in products designed to treat tooth sensitivity, prevented the formation of oral plaque.

Researchers noted that this discovery is important because oral bacteria like to aggregate on surfaces to form sticky biofilms that keep the bacteria in contact with tooth enamel. Dental plaque is a biofilm that accounts for over 50 percent of all hospital infections. Biofilms formed from dental plaque contribute directly to the billions of dollars spent annually every on oral treatments in the U.S.

Dental biofilms such as plaque are directly responsible for the development of cavities, gum disease and periodontal disease. Studies indicated that approximately 24 percent of adults in the U.S. suffer from untreated cavities, and nearly 39 percent suffer from moderate-to-severe periodontitis, the leading cause of adult tooth loss. The number of adults suffering from periodontitis actually climbs to over 64 percent among seniors over the age of 65.

A New Direction

Most current practices for controlling dental plaque involve the use of antimicrobial agents that are designed to kill plaque bacteria, but these substances can also stain teeth and affect a patient's sense of taste. In recent years a debate has emerged over the over use of antimicrobial treatments among oral health experts.

Pending further study, researchers believe that L-arginine can serve as a replacement for currently used antimicrobial agents. The compound offers the potential of eliminating dental plaque without any negative side effects. While the mechanism behind how L-arginine prevents plaque build up needs further study, researchers believe the acid alters how the cells stick together, thereby preventing the formation of a biofilm and keeping plaque from the surface of your teeth.

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