Could a Cocoa Extract Replace Fluoride?

Researchers at Tulane University discovered that an extract from the cocoa bean has tooth enamel strengthening properties that rival fluoride.  The product is the result of a search for a natural compound that could replace fluoride as an additive in toothpaste but still provide equal or even enhanced protection against tooth decay.  Theobromine, an alkaloid of the cacao plant, helps harden tooth enamel and make it more resistant to decay.  The discovery has even spawned a new company to market Theodent.  This new toothpaste contains a proprietary component – Rennou, based on the cocoa extract, that replaces fluoride as the key protective ingredient. Theodent, although mint flavored, will come in a chocolate colored tube when it debuts early next year.

However, don’t let this new discovery tempt you to raid the leftover Halloween candy in the interest of better dental health.  The harmful sugar in normal chocolate far outweighs the beneficial properties of any extract in the original cocoa bean.  Sorry – you will have to find another excuse!