Every few years, you hear about some new tooth decay vaccine that’s being developed, certain to make dental caries a thing of the past.
for another year or three, when some other research team emerges with yet another promising candidate vaccine.
The latest turned up just last week.
According to a report in Futurism , Chinese scientists have developed a new “fusion of proteins” that inhibits the proliferation of S. mutans – as if that were the sole cause of tooth decay. (Though it plays a role, it hardly acts alone.) The hope is that this version of the vaccine will be just as effective as a previous one but without the significant “side effects,” such as “possible inflammatory injury.”
In lab tests using mice and rats, a vaccine prototype of the protein fusion was administered through the nasal cavities. When mice without caries received this vaccine, it conferred a 64.2% prophylactic efficacy, and in those mice that had already developed caries, the vaccine produced a 53.9 percent therapeutic effect.
Overall, the protein was shown to retain the original version’s high level of protection against caries, while producing fewer side effects.
But “fewer” doesn’t mean none. Every vaccine, every drug, has “side effects.” In fact, it’s more accurate  to say simply that drugs have effects. All of these effects are direct. Some are desirable; others, not so much. All of them are a result of the action of the drug or vaccine.
Any effect that includes potential harm to the immune system is of special concern. It’s the main system in your body that defends against all forms of assault and insult. Its health – in conjunction with the health of the biological terrain – is the foundation of your overall health and well-being.
But beyond all this lies one simple matter: As we noted last week , we know full well how to prevent decay. It’s largely a matter of quitting the sugar and other fermentable carbs, and making your home dental care a priority.
As with fluoride, the hope for a vaccine seems little more than an attempt at something that will protect us without our having to change anything about the way we live or act. No doubt, it’s a well-intentioned effort, but it’s also emblematic of the mindset that has created a world in which chronic disease, not health is the norm.
We don’t need another vaccine. We need to take responsibility for our health and do what we can to support it. Yes, there are some things that are beyond our control, but diet and hygiene aren’t among them.