Why eating sushi could protect your teeth
Sushi stops bacteria collecting on teeth
According to a Japanese study presented in Honolulu during an international congress on chemistry, sushi protects your teeth from cavities. In actual fact, it’s the hot green wasabi served with sushi that has the most benefits. This sauce contains molecules known as isothiocyanates which stop bacteria settling inside your mouth. If bacteria can’t stick to your teeth, you won’t get cavities and decay. However, the researcher behind the study, Hideki Masuda, doesn’t specify how long these effects last and whether or not you have to eat sushi at every meal...
Wasabi: Miracle cure?
Wasabi is a plant in the cruciferous family, which includes broccoli, turnips, cabbages and radishes. All these vegetables contain isothiocyanates. Many studies attribute numerous benefits to these substances. It could inhibit the growth of tumours, for example, and could also play a role in the prevention of allergic reactions and asthma. Nonetheless, it pays to be cautious about these reported effects. The action of wasabi on the bacteria responsible for tooth decay has only been demonstrated in vitro. Recent research has also shown that some of the benefits of isothiocyanates could be obstructed by the saliva and gastric juices.
The pros and cons of eating sushi
It may be tempting, but don’t think you can get all the nutrients you need from a diet of just sushi! For one, you’d need to eat large doses of wasabi, which has a serious kick. And while the nutritional benefits of fish are well known, fish must be prepared properly when it’s raw so you don’t end up ingesting parasites like Anisakis.
Don’t change your diet, but look out for new products as the food and cosmetics industry capitalises on these new findings. Wasabi toothpaste might not be on the shelves just yet, but soon we might all be chewing radish or broccoli-flavoured gum to protect our teeth.