'Smart bomb' mouthwash could be the end of all cavities, forever

Science has finally gone and done something useful for a change by inventing a mouthwash that they say can completely eliminate the bacteria responsible for tooth decay. Refined sugar, you and me have a brand new (and sparkly white) future to look forward to.

There's one particular type of bacteria that's responsible for tooth decay called Streptococcus mutans. S. mutans makes up only about 0.1 percent of the hundreds of trillions of bacteria that live in our mouths, and most of the rest of the little buggers are good guys (or at least neutral guys). Regular mouthwash takes a nuke-it-from-orbit approach and just kills everything, but researchers from the Colgate Technology Center (this just in: Colgate has a Technology Center) have come up with a targeted missile that only takes out S. mutans.

Studies have shown that this new targeted mouthwash wipes out S. mutans for an extended period of time: we're talking days, or possibly even weeks. If the FDA approves it (additional studies could start as soon as March of this year), it'll be the first anti-cavity drug since flouride, and researchers are speculating that it might be effective enough to completely wipe out tooth decay within just a decade or two.

'Course, the other thing that could happen is that S. mutans might rapidly evolve resistance do this new drug, becoming more powerful than any of us can possibly imagine, and instead of focusing on teeth, it'll move on to our skulls, chewing straight through to our brains and turning us all into sugar-eating zombies. Just something to keep in mind.

Abstract, via CBS News

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