Researchers have found that a naturally occurring amino acid found in some foods - including red meat, poultry, fish, and dairy products - breaks down plaque and could help millions of people avoid cavities and gum disease.
Arginine, already used in desensitizing products and toothpastes like Colgate’s Pro-Relief, breaks down dental plaque biofilms, according to an article in Michigan News that reveals the findings of a recent study conducted by researchers at the University of Michigan and Newcastle University.
Alexander Rickard, assistant professor of epidemiology at the U-M School of Public Health, and colleagues, discovered that in the lab L-arginine—found in red meat, poultry, fish and dairy products, and is already used in dental products for tooth sensitivity—stopped the formation of dental plaque.
"This is important as bacteria like to aggregate on surfaces to form biofilms. Dental plaque is a biofilm," Rickard said. "Biofilms account for more than 50 percent of all hospital infections. Dental plaque biofilms contribute to the billions of dollars of dental treatments and office visits every year in the United States."
Pending further clinical trials to verify their lab findings, the researchers said L-arginine could take the place of the current plaque-controlling biocide substances including chlorhexidine and other antimicrobials.
Read the research article published in PLOS.
Check out our list of “5 Best Foods to Eat for Healthy Teeth and Gums,” which includes foods with arginine.