by Nathaniel Vu; Farnsley Middle School (Louisville, KY)
“Stop eating candy,” my parents would always say to me. My parents never let me have too much candy. They said that it will rot my teeth, but in September 2013, a team of researchers have found a way for candy to actually help fight cavities.
The researchers are from ORGANOBALANCE, a research and development company located in Berlin, Germany, which was founded and directed by Prof. Christine Lang, a microbiologist from the Technical University of Berlin. They have conducted a short-term pilot study with a candy containing Lactobacillus paracasei DSMZ16671, mutans streptococci.
According to Wikipedia, mutans streptococci are bacterium that causes tooth decay which is an infection that eats away your teeth. Lactobacillus, which is a type of bacteria that is usually found in milk, is a species of lactic acid bacteria that can attach to mutans streptococci.
The ORGANOBALANCE researchers conducted a short-term pilot study on 60 people. They took a saliva sample from each person before and after consuming the candy. The people who consumed the boiled, hard, sugar-free candies that were mixed with Lactobacillus paracasei saw a significant decrease of mutans streptococci in their mouth.
To make the candy, they heat-killed Lactobacillus paracasei and mixed it with boiled, hard, sugar-free candies. The candy is used to deliver the Lactobacillus paracasei. When sucking the candy, the Lactobacillus paracasei sticks to the mutans streptococci in your saliva. This causes the streptococci to detach from your teeth and prevent tooth decay. When swallowing your saliva, the streptococci that stuck to the Lactobacillus paracasei were also swallowed, thus reducing the amount of mutans streptococci.
“A very good potential subject of study, to target tooth caries at the source,” said Dr. An Nguyen from PIERCE & MITCHELL, PSC, a family dentistry in Louisville, KY. “But it needs more research over a longer period of time, more subjects of study, and in a more controlled setting and also direct effect of less amount of
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streptococcus mutans on development of tooth caries.”
The ORGANOBALANCE researchers say that they plan to conduct future studies with more test subjects.
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