Chocolate toothpaste?

Chocolate toothpaste?

Summary: According to a short article from Tulane University Magazine, chocolate toothpaste is better than fluoride. This article doesn't offer lots of details, but has been widely taken up online. It simply states that a researcher found that an extract of cocoa powder "whose chemical makeup is similar to caffeine, helps harden teeth enamel, making users less susceptible to tooth decay." If this research is serious, a toothpaste using this cocoa extract could be available at your local drugstore within five years.

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TOPICS: Emerging Tech
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According to a short article from Tulane University Magazine, chocolate toothpaste is better than fluoride. This article doesn't offer lots of details, but has been widely taken up online. It simply states that a researcher found that an extract of cocoa powder "whose chemical makeup is similar to caffeine, helps harden teeth enamel, making users less susceptible to tooth decay." If this research is serious, a toothpaste using this cocoa extract could be available at your local drugstore within five years.

Chocolate toothpasteThere have been previous attempts to sell chocolate flavored toothpaste. On the left, you can see two "limited edition 'active gel' fluoride toothpastes, made by Unilever Philippines Inc., under the name 'Closeup Flavalicious.' There are three flavors in all: Choco Loco, Luscious Lychee and Tangerine Burst." (Credit for image: this Flickr photo uploaded by chotda on September 21, 2005; credit for caption: Explanations Strange New Products on October 08, 2005)

But these toothpastes were just for fun, and the cavity-fighting component was still fluoride. And there are good reasons to keep it. In "Is Chocolate Good For You?," the BBC website describes a previous attempt to use cocoa to fight tooth cavities.

Chocolate could help prevent tooth decay, according to scientists at Japan's Osaka University. The husks of the cocoa beans from which chocolate is made contain an antibacterial agent that fights plaque. These husks are usually discarded in chocolate production, but in future they could be added back in to chocolate to make it dental-friendly. They concluded that the cavity-fighting action of cocoa bean husks isn't enough to offset decay caused by chocolate's high sugar content, however, so chocolate isn't going to replace toothpaste any time soon.

Has this balance between pros and cons of chocolate toothpaste changed? The Tulane University isn't very talkative about this. Here are some excerpts.

According to Tulane University doctoral candidate Arman Sadeghpour an extract of cocoa powder that occurs naturally in chocolates, teas, and other products might be an effective natural alternative to fluoride in toothpaste. In fact, his research revealed that the cocoa extract was even more effective than fluoride in fighting cavities. The extract, a white crystalline powder whose chemical makeup is similar to caffeine, helps harden teeth enamel, making users less susceptible to tooth decay.
The cocoa extract could offer the first major innovation to commercial toothpaste since manufacturers began adding fluoride to toothpaste in 1914. The extract has been proven effective in the animal model, but it will probably be another two to four years before the product is approved for human use and available for sale, Sadeghpour says.

Until I can read technical papers proving Sadeghpour's point, I'll remain skeptical.

Sources: Tulane University Magazine, May 16, 2007; and various websites

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Topic: Emerging Tech

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  • Cocoa & Caviities

    RE: "Until I can read technical papers proving Sadeghpour?s point, I?ll remain skeptical."

    Me also! William /wam
    realtor1ma
    • RE: Chocolate toothpaste?

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  • RE: Chocolate toothpaste?

    I read an article in a magazine more than 15 years ago about a chocolatier in Perth WA (with a company I think that was called 'Whistlers') who claimed there was a component in chocolate that helped prevent tooth decay. Even though I was a little sceptical, I was willing to be persuaded.
    Several years later, I read an article in the newspaper that corroborated this theory. It was either this or a third article on the topic stated that researches were trying to extract this particular component to include it in the toothpast receipe.

    I didn't need a lot more persuading to put it to the test - if in an ad hoc fashion. On occassions when it was late at night and I was past brushing my teeth, Id' have a couple of squares of chocolate before falling asleep.

    Some 15 or so years on and after going to my second only dental appointment in some 20 years, I was suprised, and so was the dentist, to find that even though I'd had some chips and breakeages, there was not evidence of tooth decay.

    He asked me if I ate nuts, to which I replied I did as I'd read many years back the I think the Tibetians or which ever group it was that had a healthy diet of nuts, had the largest incidence of longevity of any population group in the world.

    The dentist was a little nonplused when I said on occassion I substituted choclate for brushing, but his dental assistant was pretty pleased as she is a fellow chocolate freak!

    So I guess it comes down to the question,does the 'preventative' qualities of chocolate, out perform the 'destructive' effects of sugar.
    I'd have to say 'yes'.
    michelle5publish
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