Eating pickles to prevent tooth cavities, study suggests

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Pickles are an integral part of the diet in the southwest of China. When fruits and vegetables are fermented, healthy bacteria break down the natural sugars.

These bacteria, also known as probiotics, not only preserve foods but offer numerous benefits, including immune system regulation, stabilization of the intestinal microbiota, and reducing cholesterol levels.

In a recent study from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev and elsewhere, researchers found that a probiotic derived from Chinese pickles can prevent cavities.

The study is published in Frontiers in Microbiology. One author is Prof. Ariel Kushmaro.

In the study, the team evaluated 14 different types of Sichuan pickles from southwest China.

They extracted 54 different strains of Lactobacilli and found that one, L. plantarum K41, significantly reduced the incidence and severity of cavities.

According to the findings, L. plantarum K41 found in Sichuan pickles reduced S. mutans by 98.4%.

Dental caries (cavities) are caused by Streptococcus mutans, (S. mutans) commonly found in the human oral cavity as plaque and is a significant contributor to tooth decay.

K41 was also highly tolerant of acids and salts, an additional benefit as a probiotic for harsh oral conditions. It also could have potential commercial value when added to dairy products.

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