Could Chocolate Really Be Better Than Fluoride?

Dentist Blog

In recent years, the dental industry has begun to pay a lot of attention to a chemical present in chocolate, theobromine, which has properties that could make it a possible substitute for traditional sodium fluoride or stannous fluoride in toothpastes. However, before you toss out your regular toothpaste and start brushing with some chocolate syrup, you should understand where the science comes from and how the two are being compared.

How Does Fluoride Help Your Teeth?

The enamel on your teeth is the hardest material in your body, harder even than your bones. However, even though it is extremely hard, it is not very durable. It is vulnerable to acids from both foods and plaque causing bacteria. These acids cause the enamel to demineralize, resulting in cavities. Fluoride bonds with the enamel making it harder and more durable, and also provides some benefit to help the enamel remineralize onto your teeth. This prevents cavities from forming, thus keeping your teeth healthier.

Is Theobromine Better Than Fluoride?

There have been a few studies on theobromine and the results seem to indicate that it is as effective as fluoride. Some indicate that it could be better at remineralization and can make enamel harder than traditional fluoride. While the American Dental Association does not currently endorse any non-fluoride toothpaste, another study indicates theobromine-based toothpastes can be as effective as traditional toothpastes. Whether or not the ADA will eventually endorse theobromine toothpastes is yet to be determined, but clinical studies are ongoing.

Why Even Look for an Alternative to Fluoride?

The reason people are searching for an alternative to fluoride is because of the perception that sodium fluoride is toxic. It is true that sodium fluoride is mildly toxic, but the amounts required for a lethal dose would require consuming absurd quantities of fluoride products. To put this in perspective, a single 6.4 ounce tube of toothpaste contains 192 mg of fluoride. To meet the median toxicity, a 200 pound (90 kg) man would need to eat (not use) 11 tubes of toothpaste in a day. However, even with this mild toxicity, some people are concerned about the risk of an overdose, so researchers are looking for a safer product.

It certainly seems theobromine is as effective as fluoride at preventing cavities. Because people are constantly searching for something new or "healthier," theobromine toothpastes are here to stay. However, for the rest of the population, standard fluoride toothpastes will remain the dentifrice of choice. For more information, ask people like Adwen P Yap DDS - Family Dentistry about what might be best for your teeth.


30 June 2015

Emergency Dental Care

The average dentist takes many client appointments each day and also deals with emergency situations on a regular basis. Dental emergencies are very common because people are likely to put off having tooth pain fixed until the pain becomes unbearable. Some people have anxiety about dental visits, and others are trying to avoid the expense of dental care. In either case, the end result is often a dental emergency. I have worked as a professional dental hygienist for many years and have seen all types of dental emergencies. I hope that this blog will help people identify potential emergencies before they become too serious and will allow people to know when to get help.