Plant based protein is a growing trend in the food and beverage industry, and researchers are now trying to understand why.
A new study suggests that plants may have a role to play in keeping your mouth clean.
“What we know about the health of teeth and the effectiveness of toothpaste is that toothpaste can’t do all the things it was designed to do,” said Mark Riebel, a professor of dental science at the University of Washington in Seattle.
“When you put it on your teeth and then it comes off, that’s what we call a chemical reaction.
But if you put the plant protein on your tooth, that reaction can be completely reversed.”
While plant based protein may be the most widely used protein source on the market, it’s not a new trend.
In fact, it dates back decades.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Office of Dietary Supplements has listed plant based proteins as a dietary supplement since 2007.
And in 2012, a company called OvoNova introduced a plant-based product that promised to lower your risk of cavities by 30 per cent.
But while the plant-derived protein has garnered widespread popularity, there’s still debate about how well it actually works.
The latest study, published online this week in the journal PLOS ONE, suggests that plant based products are more effective than conventional products in keeping teeth clean.
Researchers at the Johns Hopkins University School of Dentistry measured the effect of plant based and non-plant based products on the pH level of the mouths of two groups of people: a control group and one that was treated with either a water-based toothpaste or a water and plant-protein toothpaste.
They found that plant- based products were more effective at cleaning teeth than either a conventional toothpaste (a solution that included a chemical called hydrogen peroxide) or a non-plant-based solution.
The results suggest that there’s a natural synergy between the two, according to lead author Jennifer Geddes.
“Plant based products have been proven to be effective in reducing plaque and improving the appearance of the dentine, and that synergy is mediated by the pH, which is what makes these products really effective at reducing plaque,” Gedders told CBC News.
Geddes and her colleagues compared the pH levels of saliva in two groups, one treated with a waterbased toothpastes toothpaste, and another treated with plant- and nonplant-based products.
They also compared the effects of plant-containing and non–plant-containing toothpasteings.
The results showed that the pH was lower in the water-containing product group than in the non–water-containing group, suggesting that the products are less effective at clearing plaque than other toothpastsees.
Geads also noticed that the two groups were different in age.
Those who were treated with water- and plant–based toothpads had lower pH levels, indicating they had a lower tolerance for the acids present in the toothpaste and the acids in the plant products.
Gees says that this could be due to the fact that the toothpasts toothpaste contains a lot of acidic compounds, and those acidic acids may be more sensitive to pH than the more neutral ingredients in plant-Based Products.
“It’s interesting to think that the plants are more efficient at clearing the plaque and keeping the pH down in people who are older and older,” Geads said.
“We need to be mindful of the fact, the plant proteins are not going to be in everybody’s mouth for long.”
Despite their high pH levels in saliva, the researchers found that both plant- protein and non‐plant-protein products were effective at removing plaque.
But the results suggest, in fact, that the plant based toothpaste may not be as effective as other options for removing plaque, such as toothpastées.
The findings may not hold up in a long-term trial, Gedds said, as people with tooth decay may not tolerate plant-Protein toothpasta as well.
But there’s no evidence that the higher pH levels would be detrimental to the tooth, and there’s also no evidence the products themselves are harmful to the mouth, Geades said.
While it’s been widely touted that plants can help with plaque removal, Giddes says there’s little research to back up the claim.
“That’s one of the big problems, because we have these really good toothpastas out there,” she said.
“They’re safe, they’re really effective.
And it’s hard to prove that they’re not harmful.”
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