Enzymes found on seaweed could prove an unexpected weapon in the fight against tooth decay, scientists have said.
Researchers at Newcastle University have been studying Bacillus Licheniformis to see if it could clean ships' hulls.
But scientists now believe it could protect the areas between Teeth were plaque can gather despite brushing.
Their lab tests suggest seaweed microbes cut through plaque, getting rid of bacteria that cause tooth decay.
Dr Nick Jakubovics said: "Ultimately we hope to harness this power into a paste, mouthwash or denture-cleaning solution."
Plaque is made up of lots of different decaying bacteria.
When bacterial cells die, the DNA inside them leaks out and makes a biofilm that sticks to the Teeth.
Instead of removing the plaque entirely, Dr Jakubovics believes the treatment could strip away the harmful bacteria, like Streptococcus mutans,that cause tooth decay.