Our mouths are a delicate balance of good and bad bacteria. When we clean our teeth, the aim is to knock out cavity-causing bacteria, while allowing beneficial oral bacteria to thrive. Now, researchers have developed a sugar-free candy, which contains dead bacteria that bind to bad bacteria, potentially reducing cavities.
The importance of good oral health has been emphasized by doctors for years. Poor oral health has been linked to many conditions, from Alzheimer's disease to pancreatic cancer, not to mention cardiovascular disease.
To promote better oral health, a team from the Berlin-based firm Organobalance GmbH, Germany, created a new candy, which they claim reduced levels of 'bad' bacteria in study subjects' mouths.
Their research was published in Probiotics and Antimicrobial Proteins.
They note that after we eat, bacteria on the surface of the teeth release acid, which can dissolve the tooth enamel, leading to cavities.
The most common strain of this "bad" bacteria is called Mutans streptococci. However, the researchers say that in previous studies with rats, another bacteria called Lactobacillus paracasei has been shown to reduce levels of the cavity-causing bacteria, decreasing the number of cavities in the rodents.
The team, led by Christine Lang, believe that by binding with M. streptococci, the L. paracasei bacteria prevent this bad bacteria from reattaching to the teeth, causing it to get washed away by saliva.