The profile of dental health has been raised with the recent awarding of the 2017 Prime Minister’s Prize for Innovation to Laureate Professor Eric Reynolds AO for his significant contribution to improved dental health outcomes on a global scale through the invention and commercialisation of Recaldent®.

Professor Reynolds’ career spans 20 years, with experience in molecular biology, biochemistry, immunology, microbiology, cariology and periodontology. He holds 19 patents and has published over 172 peer-reviewed papers and leads the Oral Biology Research Group, is Head of Melbourne Dental School and Associate Dean, Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences at the University of Melbourne.

It was some thirty years ago when working as a young dental academic that Eric Reynolds and his colleagues investigated the posited link between the consumption of dairy products and reduced risk of tooth decay. This investigation lead to the discovery of a protein in dairy milk that helps teeth re-mineralise and repairs tooth enamel – repairing and strengthening teeth.

“As a young researcher I was fortunate to have good mentors. They sent me to the University of Melbourne’s commercial office. We patented the invention, and that really started the journey to develop the technology.”

The discovery of the protein (CPP-ACP) and its unique properties brought strong interest from large multi-national oral companies and Australian dairy companies alike. The protein was soon trademarked and marketed as Recaldent® and to this day all Recaldent® used globally is produced in Melbourne using Australian dairy milk.

Warner-Lambert was the first oral company to bring Recaldent® to market, introducing Trident sugar-free chewing gum with Recaldent® as a key ingredient. A subsequent clinical trial indicated the gum lowered the risk of tooth decay in children 12-13 years of age.1

The global success of gum containing Recaldent, with particularly strong sales in Japan, lead to an opportunity to work with Japanese company GC Corp, and the inclusion of Recaldent® into a wide range of their oral products, notably their popular dental cream ‘Tooth Mousse’. Tooth Mousse has since been shown to be effective at repairing and preventing early decay.2, 3

Professor Reynolds’ and his team continue their mission to improve global dental health with their recent development of a test and vaccine to tackle gum disease, or periodontitis.

Image: Wildbear


Journal Articles:
1. Morgan M, Adams G, Bailey D, Tsao C, Fischman S, Reynolds E. The anticariogenic effect of sugar-free gum containing CPP-ACP nanocomplexes on approximal caries determined using digital bitewing radiography. Caries Res. 2008;42(3):171-84. doi: 10.1159/000128561. Epub 2008 Apr 29.
2. Cochrane N, Cai F, Huq N, Burrow M, Reynolds E. New approaches to enhanced remineralization of tooth enamel. J Dent Res. 2010;89(11):1187-97. doi: 10.1177/0022034510376046. Epub 2010 Aug 25.
3. Li J, Xie X, Wang Y, Yin W, Antoun J, Farella M, Mei L. Long-term remineralizing effect of casein phosphopeptide-amorphous calcium phosphate (CPP-ACP) on early caries lesions in vivo: a systematic review. J Dent. 2014;42(7):769-77. doi: 10.1016/j.jdent.2014.03.015. Epub 2014 Apr 3.

Images courtesy of Wildbear