Oral bacteria transplants may revolutionise dentistry

Transplanting bacteria from the mouths of donors with healthy teeth through toothpaste or gel could be the next leap forward in treating tooth decay.

The oral microbiome – the collection of bacteria that naturally occupies the human mouth – contains over 700 bacteria and a healthy microbiome reduces the risk of oral health problems including tooth decay.

Transplanting the bacteria from the mouths of healthy donors could therefore boost microbiome health in patients at risk from tooth decay, University of Adelaide researcher Peter Zilm says.

At risk patients can face problems such as cancer, cardiovascular disease, and even birth complications if left untreated.

“An oral microbiome transplant through a specially designed toothpaste or gel could improve dental health,” Associate Professor Peter Zilm said.

About 25 per cent of Australians are estimated to suffer from untreated tooth decay.

The illness is especially prevalent in low income, rural and Indigenous communities.

Preventable oral health conditions are responsible for more than 63,000 hospitalisations per year.

The treatment is still theoretical but a pre-clinical trial was successful in suppressing cavities without impacting other parts of the body.

Researchers hope further funding will allow them to carry out human trials within the next two years.

“Having a healthy mouth is crucial for more than just eating and drinking. It’s reflective of our overall health,” Assoc Prof Zilm said.

“If we can show that oral microbiome transplants are safe for humans, they could become a cost-effective solution to one of the nation’s most common chronic illnesses.”


Nyk Carnsew
(Australian Associated Press)


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