With different lifestyles and consumer goods being developed each day, the question of health has been discussed since most of the consumer products have been causing a lot of imbalances in human health conditions. For example, there has been a lot of concern about sugary food and its possible cause of teeth decay in human beings. Today, tooth decay has been considered the second common disorder affecting man after the common cold. This disorder of teeth commonly occurs in children as well as young adults. However, any age group can be as well prone to the disorder. Bacteria are known to be everywhere and hence the reason they are referred to as ubiquitous. In the human mouth, scientists argue that there are over one million bacteria that are useful in the conversion of food like starch and sugars into acidic compounds. Once the bacterial bodies, the acids, the debris of foods and saliva come together, they end up forming a sticky substance referred to as plaque which will stick or adhere on the human teeth. This is quite common with the molars as compared to the other teeth (Wilkins, 1999). This occurs on the gum-line of a tooth. Should this plaque fail to be removed, the teeth will start to mineralize hence forming tartar; this combination of plaque and the tartar compounds end up irritating the gums hence causing the tooth to decay.
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The end result of the above processes is what we call dental caries. It should not be confused that dental caries is also what is referred to as tooth decay or cavities. Tooth cavity is a disease that will result in the damage of the overall structure of the tooth. Due to the decay, the tissues of the tooth begin to break down in a progressive manner hence resulting in a number of dental cavities or holes. There are two bacteria groups known to play a major role in the formation of these decays. These include the Streptococcus species, and especially the species S. mutans, and the Lactobacillus species. When this condition is not taken care of it will result in pain, infections and even loss of the tooth, and in some severe cases it might as well cause death. Now, the best way through which this disorder can be addressed is by application of control measures (Young & Shannon, 2006). For instance, the use of fluoride and aluminium has been effectively used in managing the action of salivary amylase in the mouth. This paper discusses the enzymatic promoter of dental caries in which we shall discuss the effects of fluoride and aluminium fluoride on salivary amylase activity.
Facts about fluoride and Aluminium Fluoride and Dental Caries
From researches, it has been noted that fluoride and aluminium will have some adverse impacts on the enzymatic activities in the human body. From the very initial studies, it was found out that fluoride has the capability of improving the strength of bones. Also, with dental fluorosis, there was the indication that fluoride tends to decrease severity in pain when the teeth have been damaged. This seemed to result in increased rates of healing in such fractures and fragmentations when children had been exposed to fluoride containing water. This study gave the implications that the use of fluoride might have some advanced importance in the control and prevention of caries in human beings (Chasteen, 1999).
Today, the increased cases of dental fluorosis have been due to the excessive consumption and ingestion of some fluoride compounds. These have been contributed to by the excessive formulations that have been intended for some topical forms or actions. According to a number of pharmacologists, the intensity or magnitude with which the metabolic effects on the fluoride materials would be dependent on a number of factors like the blood concentration and the excretory time. Once this has been ingested, there were speculations that it would as well impact on the salivary activities in the mouth. From some of the reports it was possible to point out that the action of fluoride on the salivary glands would be caused by the adenyl cyclase action. Since then, studies were all aimed at studying imperative effects of the sub-toxic dosages of fluoride on the human’s mandibular salivary glands (Young & Shannon, 2006).
It is true that all the processes that take place in the body are a result of enzymatic activities. The work of enzymes is what gives great contributions to the manner in which processes and food materials are broken down in the body so as to promote overall body growth and any other important body functioning. In the mouth, it is also true that there is a very high rate of digestion in which sugar and starch are broken down due to the presence of salivary amylase. This is the major enzyme found in the mouth which is responsible for the actions and processes taking place. During this action, it becomes easy for foodstuffs to be digested hence forming plaque that ends up in tooth cavities. Basically, what happens is that the present bacteria bodies, the acids, and the debris of foods and saliva, which contains the activator enzyme salivary amylase, come together, they end up forming a sticky substance referred to as plaque which will stick or adhere to the human teeth. This is the eventual cause of dental cavities which can be quite damaging (Lippman & Kaim1989).
However, fluoride and aluminium fluoride have the power in which they impact the action of amylase’s activities in the mouth. This is the single fact which forced dental scientists to come up with studies in understanding these effects of fluoride and how they could be applied in the prevention and control of dental cavities. These metallic compounds are known to contain numerous ionomeric substances and materials that have over the past years been seen to have both antimicrobial and anticariogenic properties on human processes, and especially when subjected to a field with some form of enzymes. These ionomeric compounds have the power and ability of creating and releasing fluoride ions after some period of time. This will as well impact the nature through which the binding of the compounds results in the formation of plaque in the mouth. However, since most of the antibacterial activities caused by these materials may have not yet been conclusively studied, there is the need for more research to be done on this. As well, there are some other useful compounds that will be released from these ionomeric compounds. For instance, aluminium fluoride, which has been shown to be a major substance that can have useful implications in effecting the amylase enzymatic activities, has been one of the compounds that will be released.
From the previous studies that have been done; the results have indicated that the antibacterial activities posed by salt solutions of aluminium against all cariogenic bacterial-organisms will be effective in reducing their action, and in the very end destabilizing it. For instance, the essential acid uric action and property of the species Streptococcus mutans which cause caries will entirely be dependent on ATP-ase activities. Therefore, any form of inhibitory induced by the effects of the fluoride on salivary amylase which has a grand role in the formation of plaque will be disoriented hence reducing the chances and abilities of the bacteria in the formation of plaque which in the long run results to tooth decay. Thus, we shall agree here that, the purposeful application and utilization of fluoride and aluminium fluoride will effectively interfere with the salivary amylase activities in the nature in which it facilitates decay of food substances and sugar in the mouth hence increasing chances of plaque formation (Young & Shannon, 2006). This will as well result in the overall interference of the bacterial activities and growth, and even the metabolism activities taking place in the mouth.
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Therefore, this systematic and simultaneous production of aluminium and fluoride made available in the mouth will definitely manipulate a number of actions in the mouth. At times, there is the provision of compounds and chemicals that would improve the body’s production of fluoride and aluminium fluoride in the mouth so as to increase the performance in the fighting of teeth caries. The production of these metallic compounds or elements in the mouth would hence have great importance in the prevention of dental caries which have been a big problem in both the developed as well as the developing countries today. This possibility provided by the anticariogenic abilities and properties of the compounds has been noted to be effective in the restoration and improvement of bonding of the dental materials. This is the major understanding that has been adopted in ensuring that man can today fight dental cavities through the use of fluoride and aluminium fluoride compounds.
A discussion on Salivary Amylase and Dental Caries
There are very many enzymes in the human body system having a number of roles that are quite vital for body functioning. Salivary amylase is one of these enzymes which have a role to play in the human digestive system. This enzyme is known to break down food compounds such as starch into smaller sugar substances, and sugar into glucose. Amylase will be found in human beings in the saliva which is produced by the salivary glands. This is known to be the initial stage in which digestion takes place. Most foodstuffs will have some substantial amounts of starch and sugary compounds. Some of these food substances include potatoes, rice, whole grains among others. This means that their digestion would start right in the mouth. The pancreas is also known to make amylase which is capable of hydrolyzing starch which has been taken as the diet. These are broken down into trisaccharides and disaccharides. These will then be converted into glucose by some other enzymes hence supplying the body with the appropriate energy it requires (Komatsu & Okabe, 1997).
Amylase as an enzyme is used in the making and breakdown of sugars as well as starch compounds. These are broken down into simpler sugars. During the process, there is the integration of bacteria which improves the degree to which these substances are broken down. During the process, there is the overall combination of bacteria bodies, the acids, and the debris of foods and saliva come together, they result in the formation of a sticky substance referred to as plaque. The plaque will end up sticking or adhering to the human teeth. This is something that occurs commonly with the molars and the pre-molars. The other teeth are not greatly affected since they are usually exposed to the open. It is common advice by doctors and dental experts that this plaque should be removed through continuous brushing so that chances of decay do not occur. Should this plaque fail to be removed, the teeth will start to mineralize hence forming tartar. A combination of both plaque and the tartar compounds end up irritating the gums hence causing the tooth to start decaying (Komatsu & Okabe, 1997).
The role of the enzyme amylase is to facilitate the decomposition of the sugary compounds. Once there is the formation of acidic compounds, they end up promoting the formation of plaque which is usually the root cause for tooth decay. There has also been another enzyme that has been known to have a major role in the development of tooth decay. These are known as bacterial amylases which have been known to vary from the common salivary amylases. Bacterial amylase has a number of differences as compared to salivary amylase. However, some people argue that there is no much difference between these two enzymes since they seem to have similar roles in causing plaque and dental caries. However, the differences have been noted in the pH in which they operate.
Effects of Fluoride and Aluminium Fluoride on Salivary Amylase Activity
Before discussing this, the common agreed issue is that the presence of fluoride itself and aluminium fluoride will have varied impacts on the manner in which enzymes and their activities take place in the human body. Very many studies have been done and have been able to prove that there is a great influence of fluorides on the functioning of salivary amylase enzyme in the human mouth. It should be noted that the role of salivary amylase is quite significant in the mouth since it may help in metabolism and colonization of the species which operate in the mouth in the breakdown and digestion of food materials in the mouth. During this aiding process of the Streptococcus species, S. spp, in the digestion of food and the eventual formation of plaque, salivary amylase would hence play a major role in the occurrence of the dental caries disorder. Salivary amylase was long time ago found to be one of the available enzymes in the human body that have the capability of accepting micro-organisms due to the presence of receptors found on its surfaces (Zhang & Kashket, 1998). This means that the enzyme has interlocking key and lock structures that are allocated for the bacterial organisms in the mouth. This gives the enzyme quite an outstanding feature, which is in its ability to effectively bind itself to the surfaces of the bacteria hence being able to hydrolyze starch and sugary substances together (Rosenau & Maxcy, 2005). This results in the formation of products that will be eventually transformed into the formation of acids.
From the beginning of dental science, there have been a lot of studies that have all been able to give us the facts that the activities of amylase would have adverse impacts on the development and progression of dental caries. However, there have been a number of conflicting results that show that there is in fact no relationship between the enzymes’ activities and the occurrence of the disorder (Young & Shannon, 2006). Farther studies were able to determine this and came out with documented evidence in the manner through which amylase might have been one of the major reasons behind the formation of dental caries. Having realised the fact of this, the next course of action was now to think of ways through which this action of amylase could be interfered with so that chances of the disorder developing would be reduced. The major idea behind this was that we could not at all eliminate the function of salivary amylase in the mouth since it still has many roles to play in the human body (Rosenau & Maxcy, 2005). This would mean that there would be no digestion of starch and sugar in the mouth. Through the use of fluorides, the studies showed that there were some intervals through which the action of the human amylase would be influenced. From these studies, it was shown successfully that concentrations that were about 0.05 Moles of any compound containing fluoride like Sodium Fluoride would result in the inhibition of the functions of salivary amylase in human beings.
Basically, we shall agree that salivary amylase will be considered to be a major enzyme that has a very big role in the intra-oral activities taking place in all mammals and other organisms. It is the major digestive enzyme that is produced within the body by the salivary glands but is usually found in the mouth at reduced levels. From the studies that have been done, it has been found out that fluoride would not have different results with respective sexes. The amount of fluoride subjected into the mouth would have similar effects on the function of the enzyme; this is to say, the more the amount of amylase subjected into the mouth, the more pronounced will be the inhibition (Wunder & Bowen, 1999).
Enzymatic Promoter of Dental Caries
Having given the above discussion, we shall agree that there is a big way through which enzymatic activities in the mouth would increase the rate at which the disorder will develop in humans. This is because salivary amylase has been found to play the greatest role in the manner in which the disorder develops. However, this will take place due to a number of key factors that come into play. Dental caries has been known to express themselves as a result of prolonged acidification which results in the formation of plaque. This would hence result in the establishment of what dental scientists refer to as cariogenic micro flora. There is also continued tooth demineralization which may have similar impacts on the development and establishment of the disorder. Some urease enzymes in the mouth have also been known to influence oral functions in which the bacteria tend to hydrolyze the urea in the mouth hence resulting in the formation of ammonia. The presence of ammonia in the mouth would as a result end up neutralizing the plaque acids in the mouth (Newbrun, 1996). This process will hence play a big role in the development and establishment of dental cavities or caries.
There has been great evidence that there is a big relationship that exists between plaque formation and the presence of enzymes like the amylase enzymes in the mouth. Basically, the major contributing factors to the condition include the overall presence of starch and sugary foods, the presence of ureolytic bacterial strains, and the presence of a favourable pH of around 5.6 to 6.5 in the mouth. This is a weakly acidic environment that plays a major role in the formation of plaque hence causing the teeth to start decaying and forming holes. Just to mention, the weak acidic pH has a very vital role in the production of plaque. This happens due to the single fact that enzymes would operate in their best in a given optimum temperature and a necessary pH. Enzymes would function at their best during the presence of these conditions. Without such conditions it would definitely reduce the efficiency of the enzyme and their respective enzymatic activities (Nizel, 1993).
Also, some of the ureolytic strains of bacteria include the Streptococcus mutans which have been known to be abundant in an acidic mouth environment. Some other bacterial strains are the Lactobacillus which is also found in the mouth. Different strains have been found to have varied roles in the manner in which dental cavities would be formed in human teeth. From majority of the in-vitro studies and experiments that have been done, it has been shown that there is the ability to have this plaque form once all other conditions have been met in the mouth. The activities of urease have also been found to influence the manner in which plaque metabolism and biochemistry take place. Due to this outstanding fact in the manner through which enzymes will have a big role in promoting the development of dental cavities, we will be able to note that it is necessary to come up with the appropriate measures through which this disorder can be addressed. This is because caries has been known to cause a lot of health problems in the victims since it becomes extremely hard for them to have proper foods which have greater importance in promoting the health of an individual. Some pronounced cases of dental caries have also been noted to cause human deaths (Garman, 1993).
In short, we will agree that the role of enzymatic activities is very great in the development of plaque which results in tooth decay. This is because they link with the responsible bacterial micro-organisms which in turn promote the digestion of sugar and in the breakdown of starch. Since we cannot get rid of amylases in the human mouth, the best trick that should be applied is in the development of appropriate techniques through which this disorder can be addressed. This fact has led to the analysis of some of the benefits that can be obtained from fluoride and aluminium fluoride in the control and management of dental caries in man today. These metallic compounds will have greater effects on the activities of salivary amylase in the formation of plaque (Edwina, 2005). This means that the future through which we can effectively handle this issue of dental caries is through the use of fluoride compounds and aluminium fluoride which have proved to be effective in their prevention and maintenance.
In summary, this disorder has a greater impact on society than we may have initially thought. From some of the studies that have been done in 89 percent of the developing countries in Africa and Asia, it has been noted that the disorder has been affecting over half of the population. Some theories have been drafted which argue of the connection between this disorder and lack of proper education and advice about the formation and development of dental carries. Some have also argued that the major cause has been due to lack of public awareness and the failure to practice the necessary health practices. On the other hand, the developed countries, though with the so called awareness, it has been noted that there is an increased rate in the people who have been reporting of the condition. This has been due to the changes in the lifestyles especially with the young children and individuals who are inexperienced. This has seen them consuming a lot of sugary foods and foodstuffs which have great impacts on the development of the condition (Grossman, 2004).
The major causes of dental caries would be due to the combination of sugary materials, saliva enzymes, and the presence of bacteria which result in formidable recombination hence causing tooth decay. Once sugar has been consumed by an individual, particularly the one in the sucrose form, and even if the individual has brushed his or her teeth thoroughly, there will be some sticky substances known as glycoprotein which will be left stuck on the teeth. These glycoproteins are usually the combination of protein molecules and complex carbohydrate compounds. These remain attached on the surfaces of the teeth and after a continual deposition they end up forming plaque. During the same time, there are tens of millions of bacterial micro-organisms such as the Lactobacillus and Streptococcus mutans which also stick themselves to the already forming glycoproteins. Although it is well known that there are so many other bacterial organisms that will attach themselves to the glycoproteins, it is only the Streptococcus mutans that have the greatest capability of causing dental cavities (Koo, 2002).
Once that has happened, the next process would be in the function of the bacteria in the metabolism of the glycoprotein which has already been stuck on the surfaces of the teeth. This process of metabolism is known as glycolysis which has to take place in the presence of bacterial organisms. What is produced during this process of glycolysis is lactic acidic. For this kind of acid to be formed, there should be the presence of an anaerobic environment (Forss & Ogaard, 1993). The already created lactic acid will increase the current acidity of the mouth hence leading to increased acidic levels which promote the dissolution of the calcium phosphates into the enamel of the tooth hence resulting in the development of holes that eventually cause cavities.
Having seen the dangers which this condition poses to human beings, the best thing was to think of appropriate way through which the condition can be addressed. Some of the commonly applied prevention strategies for the condition are through subsequent brushing of the teeth so as to disorient the nature in which the glycoproteins form on the walls of the teeth. There should also be the incorporation of a diet that is rich in calcium compounds. Just as it has been discussed in the paper, fluoride will present one of the biggest strategies through which cavities can be fought in the world today. Supply of fluoride added in the materials and water consumed would result in harder tooth enamel. There should also be a reduction in the intake of diets that are rich in sugar and excessive starch. Also, it is only the Streptococcus mutans that have the main enzyme known as glucosyl transferase which causes the continual polymerization of sucrose on glucose hence resulting in the formation of fructose (Edwina, 2005). With the current availability of toothpastes rich in fluoride, it is possible to prevent tooth decay since such toothpastes inhibit the enzymatic actions which result in dental cavities. Through the use of fluorides, studies have shown that there are better results if human beings continue to utilise fluoride and aluminium fluoride in the control and maintenance of dental caries. From these studies, it was shown successfully that concentrations that were about 0.05 Moles of any compound containing fluoride like Sodium Fluoride would result in the inhibition of the functions of salivary amylase in human beings.
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