An organic compound, theobromine, found in chocolate is better than fluoride at re-mineralising and hardening tooth enamel, according to a new study published in Caries Research*.
The study investigated the surface micro-hardness of enamel (the outer surface of a tooth) after artificial, surface carious lesions (decay) were treated with theobromine, fluoride or artificial saliva. Whilst artificial saliva did not help re-mineralisation (or re-hardening) of the tooth surface, theobromine demonstrated mineral gain at a higher rate than fluoride. The crystals in the re-hardened enamel were larger making the enamel stronger and less vulnerable to the bacterial acid that weaken the tooth surface and eventually leads to cavities (holes),
Theobromine is an active ingredient in Rennou, a patented chocolate extract which was invented by a dentist with a PhD in nutrition.
So could chocolate replace toothpaste? Sadly no, because of the sugar in the chocolate, but the chocolate extract could be seen in toothpastes in the future.
*Amaechi B T, Porteous N, Ramalingam K et al. Remineralisation of artificial enamel lesions by theobromine. Careis Res 2013;47:399-405