Theobromine: A Safe and Effective Alternative for Fluoride in Dentifrices
Nakamoto Tetsuo Journal of Caffeine Research. February 2016, 6(1): 1-9.
During the process of studying caffeine’s effects on developing teeth, a serendipitous discovery was made. Teeth comprise hydroxylapatite (HAP). Ingestion of caffeine (1,3,7-trimethylxanthine) caused the formation of smaller crystallites of HAP in the developing teeth. This resulted in the increased release of calcium and phosphorus ions from the enamel surface when exposed to acidic solutions in vitro. Furthermore, animal study confirmed the hypothesis that smaller HAP crystallites caused the increased incidence of dental caries.
In contrast, theobromine (3,7-dimethylxanthine), which is similar to caffeine, caused formation of larger HAP crystallites in vitro. The ingestion of theobromine by lactating dams showed a decreased release of calcium and phosphorus ions from the enamel surface in the developing teeth of neonates in vivo. The use of fluoride dentifrices is controversial. It is also well documented that young children who brush their teeth often ingest fluoride-containing dentifrices. Based upon our comparative study between fluoride and theobromine, theobromine is a better alternative than fluoride. We believe that theobromine can be used as an ingredient of dentifrices and even if swallowed accidentally, there are no adverse effects.
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