An amino acid found naturally in foods such as meat, poultry, fish and dairy products could improve oral health, says a new research.
Researchers at the University of Michigan and Newcastle University discovered that amino acid, arginine, which is already used in dental products for tooth sensitivity could prevent formation of dental plaque.
"This is important as bacteria like to aggregate on surfaces to form biofilms. Dental plaque is a biofilm that contribute to the billions of dollars of dental treatments and office visits every year in the United States. Biofilms account for more than 50 percent of all hospital infections," said one of the researchers Alexander Rickard, assistant professor at the University of Michigan.
Dental biofilms causes formation of dental caries (cavities), gingivitis and periodontal disease.
To control dental plaque, antimicrobial agents such as chlorhexidine are used. Antimicrobial agents are chemicals that kill plaque bacteria, but they can affect sense of taste and also stain teeth.
The research findings suggests that the naturally found amino acid arginine could one day replace the chemical substances currently used to prevent dental plaques.
The researchers said further clinical trials are required to verify the lab findings. It appears arginine can change how cells stick together, and can trigger bacteria within biofilms to alter how they behave so that they no longer stick to surfaces.