Written on Monday, September 25, 2006 by Gemini
A chewing gum containing good bacteria that can destroy the bad bacteria that cause tooth decay could be in the shops soon. The gum is one of several products being developed by German chemical company BASF using the bacteria Lactobacillus, which is normally found in live yoghurt.
BASF discovered a new strain of lactobacillus called L anti-caries, which binds to Strepptococcus mutans (S Mutans), the bacteria responsible for tooth decay. S Mutans sticks to the surface of teeth, where it produces an aggressive acid that breaks down the enamel. The friendly bugs in the gum will make the S Mutans clump together, preventing them from becoming attached to the tooth surface. Tests reveal that the gum can reduce bacteria in the mouth fifty times.
The company is also going to release a new line of toothpastes and mouthwashes using L anti-caries. Other potential uses of Lactobacillus include the prevention of body odour. BASF are looking into producing a deodorant based on L aladoris, which can inhibit odour-producing bacteria in the armpit. Similarly, tests have shown another strain, L ala-odoris can reduce odour formation in feet.