An extract of cocoa powder that occurs naturally in chocolates and teas might be an effective natural alternative to fluoride in toothpaste, according to a study in America.
Tulane University doctoral candidate Arman Sadeghpour’s research revealed that the cocoa extract was even more effective than fluoride in fighting cavities.
The extract, a white crystalline powder whose chemical makeup is similar to caffeine, helps harden tooth enamel, making users less susceptible to tooth decay. The cocoa extract could offer the first major innovation to commercial toothpaste since manufacturers began adding fluoride in 1914.
Sadeghpour said: ‘The extract has been proven effective in the animal model, but it will probably be another two to four years before the product is approved for human use and available for sale.’
He has already created a prototype of peppermint flavoured toothpaste with the cavity-fighting cocoa extract added, and his doctoral thesis research compared the extract to fluoride on the enamel surface of human teeth.
Sadeghpour’s research group included scientists from Tulane, the University of New Orleans and Louisiana State University’s School of Dentistry.