Now say goodbye to dental cavities the natural way. Oral care products containing a natural compound, known as trans-chalcone, acts against harmful mouth bacteria and could improve oral health by helping to prevent the build-up of plaque, revealed a new study by University Of Edinburgh.
Trans-chalcone is related to chemicals found in liquorice root. The study shows that it blocks the action of a key enzyme that allows the bacteria to thrive in oral cavities. The bacteria, Streptococcus mutans, metabolizes sugars from food and drink, which produces a mild acid and leads to the formation of plaque. Without good oral hygiene, the combination of plaque and mouth acid can lead to tooth decay.
Researchers said, "Blocking the activity of the enzyme prevents bacteria forming a protective biological layer - known as a biofilm - around themselves. Plaque is formed when bacteria attach themselves to teeth and construct biofilms. Preventing the assembly of these protective layers would help stop bacteria forming plaque. Oral care products that contain similar natural compounds could help people improve their dental hygiene."
Team leader Dominic Campopiano said, "We are expanding the study to include similar natural products and investigate if they can be incorporated into consumer products. This exciting discovery highlights the potential of this class of natural products in food and healthcare technologies."
The study appears in Chemical Communications.