NIDCR News 2020

Scientists used a combination of advanced microscopy and chemical detection techniques to uncover the structural makeup of human tooth enamel at unprecedented atomic resolution. The findings could lead to a better understanding of how tooth decay develops and might be prevented.
Tiny molecular tweaks to enzymes can broadly affect human health. NIDCR’s Nadine Samara is studying the structure of a family of enzymes called glycosyltransferases, which could be promising targets for treating oral microbial infections.
Ever used a tongue scraper in your oral hygiene routine? The image shows what might come off—an array of tightly layered microbes called a biofilm. In an NIDCR-funded study, scientists imaged fluorescently labeled bacteria scraped from the tongues of human volunteers.
Making more durable fillings that can withstand the tough environment of the mouth takes some chemical ingenuity. Research supported by NIDCR is addressing the challenge.
An NIDCR-supported study uncovered a new role for nerves in oral cancer progression. Tumors send messages that transform neurons into cancer-promoting agents; targeting this crosstalk could lead to more effective cancer treatments.
Whether it’s saliva, insulin, or sweat, we rely on our secretions. It matters that just the right amounts of just the right proteins go where they should. Secretory failures lead to diseases, including dry mouth disorders.

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