Microbes found on seaweed could provide an unexpected weapon in the fight against tooth decay.
Photo: Newcastle University/PA Wire
Slimy as it seems but scientists found that adding enzymes from seaweed microbes to toothpaste and mouthwash can provide better protection against tooth decay.
Researchers at Newcastle University believe that Bacillus licheniformis could protect the areas between teeth where plaque can accumulate despite brushing.
“Traditional toothpastes work by scrubbing off the plaque containing the bacteria – but that’s not always effective – which is why people who religiously clean their teeth can still develop cavities,” said Dr. Nick Jakubovics.
“We found this enzyme can remove some of these undesirable bacteria from plaque.”
Rather than eradicating the plaque completely, Dr. Jakubovics believes that their discovery could strip away harmful cavity-causing bacteria like Streptococcus mutans.
“Ultimately we hope to harness this power into a paste, mouthwash or denture-cleaning solution.”