Chocolate and Tea Are Better Than Flouride, for Teeth, in Toothpaste for Rats?

This month’s mini-AIR research spotlight shines on possible ingredients for toothpaste, to protect teeth:

Theobromine: A Safe and Effective Alternative for Fluoride in Dentifrices,” Tetsuo Nakamoto, Alexander U. Falster, and William B. Simmons, Jr., Journal of Caffeine Research, vol. 6, no. 1, February 2016, pp. 1-9. The authors, at  Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center and at the Maine Mineral and Gem Museum, Bethel, Maine, explain:

“During the process of studying caffeine’s effects on developing teeth, a serendipitous discovery was made…. [We conducted studies in rats….] It is also well documented that young children who brush their teeth often ingest fluoride-containing dentifrices. Based upon our comparative study between fluoride and theobromine [a major constituent of chocolate, and also of tea], theobromine is a better alternative than fluoride. We believe that theobromine can be used as an ingredient of dentifrices and even if swallowed accidentally, there are no adverse effects.”

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This and other bits of improbable research news litter the October issue of mini-AIR. mini-AIR is the wee, free monthly supplement to the magnificent magazine Annals of Improbable Research.

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