Here’s some good news for people who enjoy sweet treats but are wary of tooth decay. Researchers have developed a new ‘sugarfree’ candy that reduces the amount of cavity-causing bacteria on the teeth.
The candy, developed by Christine Lang of Berlin based biotech firm Organobalance and her colleagues, contains dead bacteria that bind to the bacteria most likely to cause cavities.
Subjects who ate the candy had reduced levels of “bad” bacteria in their mouths. After you eat, bacteria attached to the surface of your teeth release acid. This acid dissolves your tooth enamel. As the enamel wears down, cavities can develop.
Researchers said the strain of bacteria most likely to cause cavities in humans is Mutans streptococci. When you chew, you shed Mutans streptococci into your saliva. Swallowing or spitting removes some of the bacteria from your mouth after you finish chewing. The remaining bacteria reattach themselves to your teeth.
Another type of bacteria, Lactobacillus paracasei, found in the fermented milk based drink kefir, reduces levels of Mutans streptococci and decreases the number of cavities in rats, researchers found. Sugar on the surface of Lactobacillus paracasei binds with Mutans streptococci. Researchers believe that by binding with Mutans streptococci, Lactobacillus paracasei prevents Mutans streptococci from reattaching to teeth.
To test whether Lactobacillus paracasei could help prevent cavities in people, Lang and her colleagues developed a sugar-free candy that contains heat-killed samples of the bacteria. The team then tested the sugarfree candy on 60 volunteers.
After the experiment, about three-fourths of the people who had consumed candies with bacteria displayed significantly lower levels of Mutans streptococci in their saliva than they had the day before, the report said. Subjects who consumed candies with two milligrams of bacteria experienced a reduction in Mutans streptococci levels after eating the first candy.
By using the dead bacteria, they were able to avoid problems that the live bacteria might have caused, the researchers said.
Source: Times of India