Eastman Dental Institute


Can shiitake mushrooms really improve dental hygiene?

9 August 2016


UCL Eastman’s Professor Dave Spratt has helped Channel 4 programme Superfoods discover one reason why shiitake mushrooms could be a great addition to our diets.

Low in fat and packed with protein, many cultures believe mushrooms also have wide-ranging medicinal value.

In the latest experiment presenter Kate Quilton and Professor Spratt have shown that they may also improve our oral health – at least, if taken in sufficient quantities.

Dr Spratt said: “There are hundreds of species of bacteria in our plaque both good and bad.

“Previous research has shown that shiitake mushrooms can change this population of bacteria for the better and this experiment was one way of investigating the extent of this improvement.”

After having her oral bacteria analysed, Kate swilled shitake ‘mouthwash’ twice a day for ten days.

Despite the pungent taste the juice appeared to increase 'good' oral bacteria by around 12%; meanwhile ‘bad’ oral bacteria were decimated.

Dr Spratt said: “The juice tasted pretty bad but if a person can endure the taste for long enough it does appear that shiitake mushrooms could dramatically improve the community of bacteria in their mouth.

"Better bacteria means more healthy plaque, less gum disease and maybe fewer cavities all round.”

You can still catch the programme online.