In ancient times, people tried many different methods to keep their teeth clean – many of them were downright dangerous.
Egyptians in 5000 BC created tooth powder that contained ground ox hooves, myrrh, eggshells and pumice stone. The Romans and Greeks used shells and crushed bone in their version.
It wasn’t until 1938 that DuPont manufactured a toothbrush similar to those we use today. The bristles were made of nylon – a material resistant to bacterial growth.
The first true toothpaste didn’t appear on the scene until after World War II.
Good oral hygiene is imperative to total body health.
Scientists now see a relationship between poor dental health and diseases in the rest of the body. In other words…taking care of your teeth isn’t just about having a pretty smile.
Immediate effects include bad breath, tooth decay, inflammation of the gums and gum disease which can ultimately result in the loss of your teeth.
Neglecting oral hygiene can lead to serious disease in the long term.
Poor oral hygiene is linked to:
• Heart disease due to mouth bacteria that causes inflammation and arterial clots
• Dementia or mental confusion that could be a precursor to Alzheimer’s
• Respiratory infections such as asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
How Chocolate Prevents Tooth Decay
Which is what makes recent discoveries from the Japanese Osaka University so startling: is how to prevent tooth decay with chocolate!
It is so effective that scientists believe it is only a matter of time before cocoa is added to over-the-counter (OTC) toothpastes and mouthwashes.
Cocoa is a powerful antioxidant with natural antibacterial properties. The outer cocoa bean husk (CBH) – that is normally discarded during chocolate manufacturing – is proving to have even more of these bacteria fighters. These compounds counteract the effect of the sugar.
Arman Sadeghpour, doctoral candidate from Tulane University, discovered that theobromine found in cocoa extract may be a natural replacement for fluoride because it strengthens enamel – making it harder for bacteria to take root on the surface of teeth.
Theobromine is a bitter stimulant that strengthens teeth and bones rather than weakening them – as caffeine does.
Sadeghpour’s doctoral thesis included creating a cocoa extract toothpaste prototype and comparing it to standard fluoride varieties.
Initial results showed that individual human molars treated with fluoride before being exposed to acid lost 8% more calcium than those teeth treated with theobromine.
Strengthen Your Teeth With 5 Foods that Boost Oral Health
• Pineapple – the bromelain helps remove stains from teeth and breaks up plaque.
• Ginger – contains anti-inflammatory properties that protect your gums.
• Carrots – an abundance of vitamin A strengthens tooth enamel.
• Basil – natural antibacterial compounds in basil kill germs in the mouth.
• Seeds & Nuts – help to “scrub” away plaque, and calcium strengthens teeth.
• Onions & Garlic – the sulfur compounds in onions combat the growth of bacteria.
Human studies are on the horizon but it could be another 2-4 years before you see chocolate included in the products on the dental health aisle in your local store.
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