Peptide Inhibitors of Streptococcus mutans in the Control of Dental Caries
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Peptides have been investigated as potential inhibitors of Streptococcus mutans, the main cause of dental caries, and have demonstrated considerable promise. In a human trial, topical application to tooth surfaces of a synthetic peptide inhibitor (p1025) of S. mutans adhesion prevented recolonisation with the oral pathogen following treatment with chlorhexidine gluconate (a broad spectrum antiseptic compound). An important feature of this treatment is that the duration of protection extends well beyond the period in which p1025 is applied. The specific targeting of S. mutans which allows other members of the oral flora associated with health to recolonise the oral cavity and competitively exclude S. mutans may explain the extended protection. Further in vitro studies have identified several other peptides which may have potential as inhibitors of S. mutans. Of particular interest are studies that demonstrate that competence stimulating peptides of S. mutans act as inhibitors of S. mutans growth and that peptides derived from the competence stimulating peptides can be used as a means of specifically targeting broad spectrum antimicrobial peptides.