A team of researchers from the United Kingdom has found that seaweed enzymes help in fighting bacteria in the mouth and preventing tooth decay.
Extracts from the seaweed can be used in toothpastes and mouth washes. The study was carried out in Newcastle University in UK.Scientists were interested in a bacterium called Bacillus licheniformis.
The intention was to study the effectiveness of the bacterial enzyme to clean hulls of ships. However, the researchers realized the potential of the bacterial enzyme in cleaning plaque deposited in the teeth.
Brushing does not get all the plaque off the teeth and the remaining plaque causes problems of the teeth. Plaque actually consists of enzymes of dead bacteria and Bacillus licheniformis cuts out this matter.
The toothpastes which are being manufactured now do not remove plaque. They only scrub off the top layer, which does not remove all the plaque from the teeth. A large amount of the bacteria is left out.
According to Dr. Nick Jakubovics, the new enzyme can fill this lapse in toothpastes and aid a more complete cleaning. He also clarifies that despite adding the new enzyme, plaque cannot be completely removed from teeth just by brushing.
Nevertheless, more harmful bacteria such as streptococcus mutans can be removed. Jukubovics said that further studies are necessary in order to use this bacterial enzyme safely in toothpastes and mouthwashes.