University of Southern California School of Dentistry has devised a test to predict dental caries in children. This is a test of saliva to measure the relative concentration of various sugar chains called oligosaccharides.
Sugar chains in the saliva are same as those present in the teeth surface. Some sugar chains repel bacteria to attack a tooth, others may help certain bacteria to bond with the tooth. Each individual sugar chain components are determined by genes and cannot be changed.
By finding out more about these sugar chains it is possible to predict proneness of an individual to dental caries. Earlier such a test is done in life, the greater will be the effect of the precautions adopted to prevent dental cavities. According to USC researchers, it is possible to predict dental caries in a child almost exactly using the Caries Assessment and Risk Evaluation (CARE) test.
A variant of the test can even identify the tooth at risk, and help in prevention of cavities.
However, it is important to avoid extreme measures to prevent dental caries. Total avoidance of sugar in diet has not been related to lesser dental problems. Similarly, even excess brushing your teeth can do more harm than good, by eroding the enamel cover of your teeth.