Many of us have grown up being told that eating too much candy will rot our teeth but a newly developed candy that attacks “bad” bacteria is actually beneficial to oral health. Our mouths maintain a balance of good and bad bacteria and researchers have developed a sugar free candy that contains dead bacteria that bind to bad bacteria before it attaches to the teeth. This candy was created and tested by the Berlin-based firm Organobalance GmbH, Germany and the findings of their testing were published in Probiotics and Antimicrobial Proteins.
Bad oral bacteria attach to the surface of the teeth and after we eat, they release acid which can cause cavities by dissolving tooth enamel. The researchers point to previous studies in which another bacteria called Lactobacillus paracasei was shown to reduce the levels of common cavity-causing bacteria such as Mutans streptococci in rats and decrease the overall number of cavities. The candy they developed contains heat-killed L. paracasei bacteria which they believe will bind with M. streptococci and prevent it from attaching to the teeth.
The research team, led by Christine Lang, tested their candy on 60 subjects to determine if the L. paracasei bacteria in the candy reduced the levels of M. streptococci and other bad bacteria. They gave one-third of their subjects candies with 1 mg of L. paracasei and gave another third candies with 2 mg of the bacteria. The last third ate similar candies that contained no bacteria. During the one and a half day study, the participants ate five candies and were not allowed to do any oral hygiene or consume coffee, tea, wine, or probiotic foods.
The researchers found that almost 75 percent of the participants who ate candies containing L. paracasei had “significantly lower” levels of M. streptococci than before the study compared to the control group. The participants who were given candy with 2 mg of L. paracasei showed lower bad bacteria levels after eating just one piece. According to the researchers, “We think it remarkable that this effect was observed after exposure to only five pieces of candy containing 1 or 2 mg of dead L. paracasei DSMZ16671 consumed in 1.5 days.”
Their report also mentions that L. paracasei is beneficial for cavity prevention because it does not bind with good oral bacteria and that the saliva flow stimulated by the candies promotes good oral health. Of course, these new candies are no replacement for regular visits to your dentist for check ups and cleanings.