Dental caries

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Due to mainly vegan food the risk of dental caries is something the settlers have to consider. This disease is closely related to a bacterium called streptococcus mutans, which feeds on carbohydrates. There are several ways to keep the teeth healthy. The most simple is a special diet that makes the bacteria unhappy, that is, prevents them to metabolize and reproduce. Other methods involve cleaning the teeth mechanically and treating them with some chemicals.


Fluoride for dental precaution may be imported from Earth. An autonomous colony may not be able to produce fluoride on their own. Concentrated fluoride from Earth may be mixed with Martian minerals and other substances to produce toothpaste. When a colony has sufficient industrial development it will be able to manufacture dental fluoride. The necessary chemical elements are expected to exist on Mars. Even if Fluoride is not found in concentrated ores, it should be cheaper to extract it from low concentration sources than to ship it from Earth.


Cauliflower, plums and some other plants contain Xylitol, which may help to prevent dental caries. Xylitol can be chemically made from maize.

  • Pure xylitol can be applied directly after each meal.
  • The meals can be composed to be rich in carbohydrates at first, then clean the teeth mechanically, then have a dessert of low carb and xylitol rich food.

See also