Antibiotic resistant bacteria has become a huge problem in the medical world. The overuse of antibiotics to treat infections that aren’t caused by bacteria (since antibiotics can only kill bacteria, they are helpless against illness caused by viruses like the cold) has resulted in the weeding out of all the bacteria that can be killed by antibiotics. This leaves only the resistant “super bugs” which make people sick but can’t be treated with traditional antibiotics. This means scientists are being forced to look for more creative and new options for treating these diseases.
Enter, my friend the squid! Fear not humans, my faithful companion is rising from the depths to save you from tooth decay. A recent study found that an ingredient in squid ink can be used to kill the bacteria that causes dental caries. Maybe some of you read that and thought, “Dude, just brush your teeth.” Tooth brushing, or as the paper calls it ‘mechanical removal,’ combined with professional dental care is by far the best method for preventing tooth decay. Unfortunately, those in less developed countries don’t always have these options. Dental care is extremely expensive (as anyone who’s ever had a tooth extracted knows all too well), and the use of antibiotics can help those without the more urban options.
And squid ink doesn’t just clean your teeth. It has also been used as a preservative, it is an anti-oxidant, and apparently even has anti-retroviral activity (some retroviruses can cause cancer, and perhaps the most famous retrovirus is HIV*). So next time you order calamari, make sure to ask for the ink sac to use as a post-meal mouth wash (but not really though).
*Note, I am NOT saying the squid ink can cure cancer or HIV. At least not yet…