TAMPA (FOX 13) - Dr. John Redd not only treats cavities in his South Tampa office, he's passionate about preventing them. But for some of his patients, routine care doesn't work the way it should.
The problem happens when harmful bacteria in the mouth that combines with protein, iron, and calcium to form a slimy substance called a bio-film.
"Bio-film is commonly called plaque. That is basically the sticky substance that sticks to teeth that allows bacteria to settle on top of a tooth," Dr. Redd explained.
You can physically attack the bio-film with abrasive toothpastes, flossing, and brushing. Fluoride can also help disrupt it. Newer treatments focus on replacing the bad bacteria with probiotics.
Dr. Redd is trying out a dental gel called Livionex. The non-abrasive gel is brushed onto teeth and rinsed out two minutes later. It creates a chemical reaction, a chelation, that binds the molecules that would normally allow the bio-film to adhere to the teeth.
"If you can interrupt the bio-film, then the bacteria in your mouth never can actually stick to the teeth to cause problems, so it ends up being a slippery place where they can't necessarily grab onto. So they are harmlessly washed away," he continued.
A small study in 2014 showed Livionex was two and half times more effective than a popular toothpaste in eliminating plaque. The company claims they also saw reductions in gum bleeding and inflammation.
Dr. Redd now sells the gel in his office and so far, about 100 of his patients are using it.
While he's hopeful the product will work, he says it will first have to stand the test of time.
"We just need to see a lot more research on it. I've seen a lot of products in my career that have started out great and because of time and they begin to find problems in the product. It certainly is promising; talk to me again in five years."