Adding a natural molecule to toothpaste and mouthwash may help prevent cavities

05 July 2023

Most of the world's population either chronically suffers from plaque and dental cavities or will develop them at some point in their lives. Toothpaste, mouthwashes, and regular checkups do their part, but more could always be done.

Ben-Gurion University of the Negev scientists and their colleagues at Sichuan University and the National University of Singapore have discovered that 3,3′-Diindolylmethane (DIM), a naturally occurring molecule also known as bisindole, reduces the biofilms that produce plaque and cavities by 90 per cent. The molecule is also found to have anti-carcinogenic properties.

Their findings were published earlier in the journal Antibiotics.

Your mouth is a great reservoir for bacteria such as S. mutans, which is believed to be one of the primary actors in dental cavities. S. mutans grows in the moist and sugary atmosphere of your mouth after food in a biofilm that coats your teeth. Biofilm generates plaque, attacks enamel and causes cavities. The scientists found that the bisindole (DIM) disrupted that biofilm by 90 per cent, and therefore, the bacterium was not given a chance to grow.

Prof. Ariel Kushmaro, the lead author, said, "The molecule, which was found to have low toxicity, could be added to toothpaste and mouthwashes to greatly improve dental hygiene.”