Theobromine against tooth decay. Will chocolate soon replace toothpaste?

Raubkatze gähnt und zeigt ihre Zähne zum Thema Theobromin in Schokolade gegen Karies
Chocolate causes tooth decay, right? No, the other way around: chocolate fights tooth decay. Not entirely true either. But let's start at the beginning: A research team from the USA examined the effect of theobromine on tooth enamel and came to the conclusion that the miracle substance from the cocoa bean has great potential. Theobromine is able to remineralize and protect tooth structure. You can now find out what this means for our chocolate consumption.

What is theobromine again?

Theobromine comes from the Greek , from “theos” and “broma”: “food of the gods”. This makes perfect sense for all chocolate lovers, because the alkaloid is contained in cocoa and therefore also in chocolate, especially in dark chocolate with a high cocoa content. Theobromine is the mood-boosting and vasodilating ingredient that gave us our name at Theyo. It acts like a very mild form of caffeine, stimulating and invigorating. In short: makes you awake and happy. Theobromine has been known as an energy supplier and cough suppressant for centuries. And now also as caries protection.

Schokokuchen gegen Karies? ©Unsplash Chocolate cake against tooth decay? ©Unsplash

Theobromine against tooth decay

In 2012, researchers at the University of Texas examined the effects of theobromine on teeth. For this purpose, teeth were provided in the laboratory with either conventional fluoride-containing toothpaste or saliva enriched with theobromine. The research team found that both the traditional toothpaste and the theobromine remineralized and strengthened tooth enamel - the theobromine even more so than the toothpaste with fluoride. Theobromine seems to be able on the one hand to rebuild damaged tooth enamel and on the other hand to strengthen it preventively against acid and tooth decay. Because of precisely these properties, fluoride was previously an integral part of toothpaste. That could change now, because theobromine not only works better, but also in a much weaker dose: according to the study, 71 times less theobromine than fluoride would be needed for the same result.

Brushing your teeth to prevent tooth decay: still the best method ;) ©Unsplash Brushing your teeth to prevent tooth decay: still the best method ;) ©Unsplash

Chocolate against tooth decay?

So, from now on, can we eat chocolate instead of brushing our teeth? Unfortunately it's not that simple. First of all, chocolate does contain theobromine, but only in very small amounts. Added to this is the sugar found in most chocolates. It is actually more responsible for tooth decay than fighting it.
But who knows... maybe there will be toothpaste with the active ingredient theobromine on sale in the near future? Until then: enjoy the chocolate , but don't forget to brush your teeth. 😇

By the way: You can get even more concentrated chocolate knowledge here and find out how chocolate can counteract stress .

Amaechi BT, Porteous N, Ramalingam K, Mensinkai PK, Ccahuana Vasquez RA, Sadeghpour A, & Nakamoto T (2013). Remineralization of Artificial Enamel Lesions by Theobromine. Caries Research , 47(5), 399-405. doi:10.1159/000348589

Reading next

Frühstück mit Schokolade
Philippinische Schokolade – Kelly von Auro Chocolate im Interview