3 July 2012 Last updated at 20:09 ET

teeth showing plaque

Adding enzymes from seaweed microbes to toothpaste and mouthwash could provide better protection against tooth decay, a team of UK scientists have said.

Researchers at Newcastle University had been studying Bacillus licheniformis to see if it could clean ships’ hulls.

But the scientists now believe it could protect the areas between teeth where plaque can gather despite brushing.

Their lab tests suggest the microbe’s enzyme cuts through plaque, stripping it of bacteria that cause tooth decay.

Dr Nick Jakubovics, of the university’s school of dental sciences, said: “Plaque on your teeth is made up of bacteria which join together to colonise an area in a bid to push out any potential competitors.

“Traditional toothpastes work by scrubbing off the plaque containing the bacteria – but that’s not always effective – which is why people who religiously clean their teeth can still develop cavities.

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Courtesy of http://www.bbc.co.uk