New sugar-free candy actually reduces cavities
Sweet tooths might want to listen up: Not all candy is created equal. In a new study conducted by a Berlin-based firm Organobalance GMbH, researchers developed a new candy which they claimed lowered levels of bad bacteria in the mouth.
As you may know, your mouth is filled with hundreds of good and bad bacteria. They mainly live on the tongue and teeth, but some bioflims cover the cheeks and oral mucosa. Although more than 60 percent of bacteria in the human mouth have not been classified, scientists recognize Mutans streptococci as the most common type of "bad," or cavity-causing bacteria.
When you eat a piece of food, bacteria on the surface of your teeth release acid, which erodes tooth enamel and leads to cavities. If left untouched, the bacteria build-up triggers bad breath, among other oral health problems.
Led by Christine Lang, the research team examined the effects of a sugar-free candy that contains dead L. paracasei bacteria, a strain of bacteria which has been shown to diminish the risk of tooth decay. Lang analyzed 60 subjects that were divided into three groups. The first 20 participants ate candies with 1 milligram of L. paracasei, while the second group ate candies with 2 milligrams. The final third served as a control group, consuming candies that had a similar taste but consisted of no bacteria.
During the 1.5 day study, all subjects ate five pieces of candy. They were not allowed to brush their teeth, floss or perform any other oral hygiene activities over this time.
The results showed that three out of every four participants who ate the candies with the L. paracasei - good bacteria - showed significantly lower amounts of M. streptococci - bad bacteria - in their saliva.
Fascinatingly, the dead bacteria would bind to the harmful bacteria, peeling it from tooth enamel and lowering dental plaque. In turn, the risk of cavities dropped noticeably.
"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," Lang pointed out to Medical News Today.
Even if you can't get your hands on this new candy quite yet, the researchers noted that sugar-free candies in general stimulate saliva flow, which helps clean teeth and cut down on bad breath.