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Brush your teeth...never?
December 5, 2010 11:10 AM   Subscribe

Scientists at the University of Groningen in The Netherlands have deciphered the structure and functional mechanism of the glucansucrase enzyme that is responsible for dental plaque sticking to teeth. [abstract]
posted by T.D. Strange (30 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite

 
Hooray for the future!
posted by Scientist at 11:18 AM on December 5, 2010


And SCIENCE!
posted by Scientist at 11:20 AM on December 5, 2010


What the heck are "caries"?
posted by ErWenn at 11:25 AM on December 5, 2010


"caries will be a thing of the past" ?
posted by kuatto at 11:25 AM on December 5, 2010


Huh? This is awesome, and it looks like a cool enzyme, but out of the thousands of enzymes with a reliable structure from X-ray crystallography that have known mechanisms this one is not that remarkable. If in twenty years you don't have to brush your teeth anymore, this will not be why.
posted by Blasdelb at 11:28 AM on December 5, 2010


Show me the small molecule inhibitor of the enzyme and then I might maybe read your breathless press release.
posted by thusspakeparanoia at 11:28 AM on December 5, 2010 [6 favorites]


A carie is a fancy word for cavity
posted by Blasdelb at 11:29 AM on December 5, 2010


"Caries" were the original name for the Cavity Creeps. They changed it to make it sound tougher.
posted by orme at 11:29 AM on December 5, 2010


Caries will ruin your prom, if I'm not mistaken.
posted by found missing at 11:32 AM on December 5, 2010 [12 favorites]


What the heck are "caries"?
posted by ErWenn at 11:25 AM on December 5 [+] [!]

"caries will be a thing of the past" ?
posted by kuatto at 11:25 AM on December 5 [+] [!]


The article's headline starts with "Tooth decay to be a thing of the past?", as does the page title. The caption on the image reads "Will tooth decay be a thing of the past?" If none of that registers, you can also type the word "caries" into the search box of your browser and see about ten definitions in the results summaries.
posted by George_Spiggott at 11:35 AM on December 5, 2010 [6 favorites]


"Show me the small molecule inhibitor of the enzyme and then I might maybe read your breathless press release."

Please be sure that it is non-toxic, does not disrupt Purity of Essence like fouride (Which works!), that S. mutans is unable to produce biofilms in the absence of enzyme activity and the presence of the oral microbial community, and that the inhibition is not subject to the development of resistance.
posted by Blasdelb at 11:39 AM on December 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


So I *shouldn't* schedule a double root canal yet?
posted by DU at 11:48 AM on December 5, 2010


A carie is a fancy word for cavity

—also the french word.
posted by esprit de l'escalier at 11:58 AM on December 5, 2010


found missing: "Caries will ruin your prom, if I'm not mistaken.

It only takes one...
posted by notsnot at 11:59 AM on December 5, 2010


This is a dumb question, but I've been wondering recently how much evidence there is that tooth brushing reduces dental carries.
posted by serazin at 12:13 PM on December 5, 2010


The root of 'caries' is also the root of the word 'precarious.' Make more sense now?
posted by jtron at 12:59 PM on December 5, 2010


serazin wrote: "This is a dumb question, but I've been wondering recently how much evidence there is that tooth brushing reduces dental carries."

I have strong anecdotal evidence that regular tooth brushing does indeed reduce the incidence of dental caries, even among people who drink a lot of acidic and sugary fluids and have excellent saliva production.
posted by wierdo at 1:11 PM on December 5, 2010


Caries.
posted by basicchannel at 1:37 PM on December 5, 2010


Caries is a singular form. Compare species and congeries.
posted by gubo at 1:41 PM on December 5, 2010


Next stop - halitosis!
posted by IndigoJones at 4:48 PM on December 5, 2010


♫He said, "Brush Up"
♫He said, "Brush Up"
♫Oh god, I need another croooooown!
♫Den-tal Car-ies
posted by Sys Rq at 5:10 PM on December 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


This is a dumb question, but I've been wondering recently how much evidence there is that tooth brushing reduces dental carries.

Dental caries used to be an extremely common cause of death. Then people started brushing their teeth.
posted by Sys Rq at 5:12 PM on December 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


found missing: "Caries will ruin your prom, if I'm not mistaken"

But only if you drench them in pig's blood first.
posted by bwg at 5:58 PM on December 5, 2010


you can also type the word "caries" into the search box of your browser and see about ten definitions in the results summaries

Do not hit the "image" tab. It's like the whole world turned into Shane McGowan. I swear I could smell it.

yes, I know he got his teeth fixed.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 6:49 PM on December 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


DUDE WHAT THE HELL MEANS IT "CARIES" oh bloody hell
posted by Mister_A at 7:10 PM on December 5, 2010


"Caries" is another name for ""Grinny Pigs". You're welcome.
posted by Rock Steady at 8:12 PM on December 5, 2010


Dental caries used to be an extremely common cause of death. Then people started brushing their teeth.

Well, to be technically accurate, the death part was reduced by the invention of antibiotics.

I'm not saying brushing your teeth is a waste of time, but I'm asking if we're sure it's not!
posted by serazin at 8:16 PM on December 5, 2010


Cool paper! Protein crystallography requires some serious crystal-growing abilities and even more X-ray ninja skills. I wonder how they grew the crystal-- did they harvest the enzyme out of the mouths of some grad student who agreed to only drink soda?
posted by beepbeepboopboop at 9:22 PM on December 5, 2010


Ah, never mind. They did it with actual science. From the paper:

Purification and crystallization of native L. reuteri GTF180-ΔN
were performed as described previously (17). Selenomethionine
(SeMet) labeled GTF180-ΔN was produced as formerly reported
(36). Both the D1025N mutant and SeMet labeled GTF180-ΔN
crystallized in the same conditions as the native protein. Crystals
of the D1025N mutant were soaked for 30 min in mother liquor
(25% ðw∕vÞ PEG 3350, 50 mM NaCl, 50 mM 1,3-bis[tris(hydroxymethyl)methylamino]propane HCl, pH 6.0, 2 mM CaCl2
(
containing 25 mM sucrose, and cryoprotected in mother liquor
containing 35% ðw∕vÞ PEG 3350 and 25 mM sucrose. For maltose soaking studies a crystal of SeMet-GTF180-ΔN was transferred first to mother liquor supplemented with 25 mM maltose
(15 min), and then soaked for 2 h in mother liquor containing
250 mM maltose. Crystals were cryoprotected in 35% ðw∕vÞ
PEG 3350 and 250 mM maltose</quote

posted by beepbeepboopboop at 9:27 PM on December 5, 2010


They blinded me with science!

Between this and using stem cells to grow new teeth, dentistry seems to be poised for some big advances. Thank god!
posted by psycho-alchemy at 1:27 AM on December 6, 2010


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