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28 March 2023

AINIA investigates bioactive ingredients to prevent dental caries

The HEALTHYTOOTH project studies the therapeutic potential of different enzybiotics against pathogens that cause caries.

A team from the AINIA technology center is investigating potential ingredients and bioactive compounds for cosmetic products and personal hygiene products capable of fighting the bacteria that cause cavities.

Specifically, the use of bioactive ingredients (enzybiotic compounds) obtained from bacteriophage viruses with a specific antimicrobial effect is studied to develop a strategy that minimizes the effects of pathogens that cause different oral pathologies, among others, the Streptococcus mutans bacterium.

The research is being carried out within the framework of the Healthy tooth project, supported by the Valencian Institute for Business Competitiveness (IVACE) and FEDER funds, to respond to dental caries, a disorder suffered by around 2,000 million people in the world for which there are currently no specific solutions that act against the microorganisms that cause them.

An alternative to antibiotics

Phage therapy, the use of bacteriophages to combat infections, has already been applied as an alternative to antibiotics with satisfactory results. Therefore, in recent years, its use has been expanding since it has been shown that, in addition to the use of the complete bacteriophage, the enzybiotic compounds it produces can be used to degrade the wall of the target microorganism in a particular way.

Among the advantages of using phages are that acting only on the target bacteria does not affect the rest of the oral microbiota, and they do not have secondary effects on the oral microbiome. They also do not affect the intestinal microbiota since they are safe compounds, and the probability of the appearance of resistance to antibiotics is very low with this type of treatment.

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