Is chocolate good for your teeth? Probably not, but a certain extract of cocoa might be. A team of university researchers in Louisiana made the discovery and used their findings to develop a new toothpaste that hits retail shelves around the country this week.
The toothpaste — called Theodent — contains no fluoride and relies instead on a proprietary blend of cocoa extract and other minerals to strengthen and harden tooth enamel. Developers say the toothpaste offers an alternative to consumers who worry about consuming fluoride, which has been associated with a number of health conditions, including thyroid disorders and bone disease.
The toothpaste doesn’t actually taste like chocolate; it is mint-flavored. But developers hope to expand the Theodent line to include dental floss, mouthwash and, yes, a chocolate-flavored, sugar-free toothpaste for children.
Theodent will officially launch its toothpaste at a news conference in New Orleans on Wednesday, and the product will be available for sale starting this week online and at Whole Foods stores around the country, including those in the New Orleans area, said Sadeghpour, who worked on the research behind the toothpaste as part of his doctoral research at Tulane University.
Theodent is housed in the 7-month-old New Orleans BioInnovation Center, a $47 million business incubator that is focused on developing a local bioscience industry centered on university research. The firm is one of the first tenants in the center to convert a scientific discovery into a commercial product.
Aaron Miscenich, president of the New Orleans BioInnovation Center, said Theodent’s success in bringing a new toothpaste product onto the market will bolster efforts to develop the local bioscience industry.
“You look at some of the historical doubt about our (city’s) ability to grow and attract these companies,” Miscenich said. “(Theodent) has basically been able to show that we can do this here.”
By Kimberly Quillen