How what's going on in this lab could keep your child from getting cavities, with this new vaccine.
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Jennifer Matthews: It's a problem nearly all parents face; trying to keep their kids from getting cavities. Pam Mullaney: And she likes to look at the toothbrush because it's pink. Jennifer Matthews: Well, brushing the teeth of a two-year-old may not seem that important, it is. Dan Smith: If the infection is on the teeth, on the primary teeth, on the baby teeth, that infection is going to be transmitted to the permanent teeth. Jennifer Matthews: Infection? Yes, researchers like Dan Smith and Marty Taubman now know cavities are caused by bacteria. Dan Smith: These organisms colonize the tooth surface between a year-and-a-half to three years of age. Jennifer Matthews: The goal then to stop the bacteria before it can develop; they hope to do it with a vaccine. Dan Smith: We've been looking at using the body's own immune system to intercept the infection. Marty Taubman: This would be a very effective means of combating this really painful and coarsely infectious disease in populations worldwide. Jennifer Matthews: Early study show the vaccine is safe and reduces the amount of bacteria on the teeth. If it proves successful in larger studies, kids like Maria (ph) may one day really have something to smile about. This is Jennifer Matthews reporting.