Monday, May 9, 2011

Casein and preventing tooth decay

Casein has been reported to reduce tooth decay . Casein is a natural protein found in milk that has demonstrated effectiveness in preventing tooth decay.

Casein  is the predominant phospoprotein  that accounts for nearly eighty percent of proteins in cow milk and cheese. Milk clotting proteases act on the soluble portion of the caseins, K-Casein, thus originating an unstable micellar state that results in clot formation. As it exists in milk, it is a salt of calcium. Casein is not coagulated by heat. It is precipitated by acids and by rennet enzymes, a proteolytic enzyme typically obtained from the stomachs of calves.

Casein consists of a fairly high number of proline peptides, which do not interact. There are also no disulfide bridges. As a result, it has relatively little secondary or tertiary structure. Because of this, it cannot denature. It is relatively hydrophobic, making it poorly soluble in water. It is found in milk as a suspension of particles called casein micelles which show some resemblance with surfactant-type micellae in a sense that the hydrophilic parts reside at the surface. The caseins in the micelles are held together by calcium ions and hydrophobic interactions. 

Casein remains the only natural food constituent known to improve the ration of good bacteria-to-bad bacteria in the mouth. 

Casein has also shown it can prevent decay-causing bacteria from attaching to teeth.  Rich in bio-available phosphates and calcium, it also supports the re-mineralization of tooth surfaces. 

One studies have shown that casein solution is as effective as 500ppm fluoride in aiding the prevention of cavities.
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