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Most people know that toothpaste and floss are important tools in the fight against tooth decay, but what about seaweed? According to researchers from Newcastle University in England, enzymes from seaweed microbes may be able to improve dental health by cutting through plaque and stripping it of the bacteria that can lead to tooth decay.
BBC News reports that the scientists were trying to discover if Bacillus licheniformis, a seaweed microbe, could be used to clean boats. Instead, they found that this substance may be able to make toothpaste more effective in the fight against tooth decay.
The researchers explained that traditional toothpaste works by scrubbing off the plaque the causes bacteria. However, this is not always effective, which is why even people who brush regularly may still develop cavities. This enzyme does not remove plaque, instead it removes the harmful bacteria on plaque that causes cavities.
"Ultimately we hope to harness this power into a paste, mouthwash or denture-cleaning solution," researcher Nick Jakubovics, Ph.D., told the BBC.
Until seaweed toothpaste is available, there are other ways to prevent cavities. WebMD recommends that you eat nutritious meals that are low in sugar and carbohydrates, brush and floss every day, and visit the dentist regularly to avoid cavities.
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