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 from the beginning: A team of researchers 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 total sense for all chocolate lovers, because the alkaloid is contained in cocoa and therefore also in chocolate, especially dark chocolate with a high cocoa content. Theobromine is the ingredient that brightens the mood and dilates blood vessels - and gives 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.

Theobromine against tooth decay

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

Chocolate against tooth decay?

So can we eat chocolate instead of brushing our teeth from now on? 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 that is contained in most chocolates. It's actually more responsible for tooth decay than fighting it.
But who knows... maybe in the near future there will be toothpaste with the active ingredient theobromine available to buy? 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 combat stress .

FAQ about chocolate and tooth decay

Which foods cause tooth decay?

Tooth decay bacteria feed on sugar, which means that all foods with a high sugar content promote the growth of the bacteria.

What accelerates tooth decay?

Consuming sugary drinks and foods combined with poor oral hygiene accelerates tooth decay.

What doesn’t tooth decay like?

Proper oral hygiene, brushing your teeth at least twice a day and flossing regularly are good tools in the fight against tooth decay. Eating sugary foods and drinks in moderation also helps.

What kills tooth decay?

If there is tooth decay in one or more teeth, unfortunately the only solution is to go to the dentist.

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

Header photo by Andreas Berlin on Unsplash

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