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FOCUS: Dairy product helps prevent tooth decay.

TOKYO, June 30 Kyodo

A natural milk-derived product called ''recaldent'' (CPP-ACP) helps suppress tooth decay, according to an expert in preventive dentistry.

Daisuke Inaba of the dentistry department of Iwate Medical University said, ''The key to blocking tooth decay is to delicately stimulate re-calcification of teeth.''

He is focusing his attention on recaldent, a substance found in dairy products such as cheese and cow milk. Recaldent, as Inaba explains it, consists of casein -- a kind of calcium phosphate and protein -- and triggers calcification.

Research conducted by Eric Reynolds of the University of Melbourne in Australia and others has conclusively verified the effect of CPP-ACP, Inaba said, adding that ''tooth decay if caught at the initial stage before cavities develop can be fully reversed.''

Human teeth are constantly repaired by what he described as re-calcification or self-restoration activity in the mouth.

But at the same time, a process of decalcification, which leads to tooth decay, is also taking place.

Countless bacteria in the mouth act on food particles caught between the teeth to produce acid, according to Inaba, associate professor of preventive dentistry. The acid causes the calcium and mineral content of tooth enamel to dissolve, he said.

''De-calcification and re-calcification are going on the mouth endlessly,'' he said. ''When this balance collapses, tooth decay occurs.''

Minerals, including calcium, contained in saliva spur re-calcification, he says.

Saliva is also capable of washing away bacteria and food particles and neutralizing the acidic environment in the mouth.

However, re-calcification activities are reined in when infants begin to develop baby teeth or during the period when children start developing permanent teeth. Such activities are also hampered when people entering middle age experience a decline in the volume of saliva and face a growing risk of tooth decay.

Inaba said that, in addition to saliva, recaldent also triggers re-calcification. He also said that ingesting CPP-ACP will improve protection against tooth decay.
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Publication:Japan Science Scan
Date:Jul 6, 2009
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