Narrator: This is Science Today. Tooth decay affects more than half of the nation's children and a vast majority of adults over 18 and it accounts for most of the $70 billion that Americans spend annually on dental treatment. Now, after a decade of research, a new mouthwash may make tooth decay a thing of the past. UCLA's Dr. Wenyuan Shi says their mouthwash uses UCLA-developed technology called specifically targeted antimicrobial peptides, or STAMP.
Shi: The best analogy I've been using is weeds versus grass. Currently, when you're using any other general antimicrobials, it's like you use a general herbicide. You're killing the grass at the same time and often it ends up the weeds coming back first and with this particularly STAMP technology, it's acting like a smart bomb. It only kills the weeds, leaves the grass intact.
Narrator: Based on a successful clinical trial, the Food and Drug Administration has approved the technology as an Investigational New Drug and more extensive clinical trials have begun. For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.