Emeritus Turns Entrepreneur
Tetsuo Nakamoto, LSUHSC professor emeritus, is a
man of perseverance, patience, and commitment.
After dedicating nearly 30 years of his career
to dental research, he shifted his focus seven
years ago to bring his life’s work to the
toothpaste derived from chocolate is the result
of his efforts. A member of the LSUHSC School of
Dentistry (LSUSD) faculty for 28 years, Dr.
Nakamoto is a dentist and PhD. His research on
the effects of caffeine on fetal development
eventually led to the discovery that an
ingredient in cocoa strengthens tooth enamel.
Theodent™, with its active ingredient Rennou™,
derived from cocoa, is an alternative to
toothpastes containing fluoride.
Tetsuo Nakamoto, DDS,
PhD, displays tubes of Theodent™
collaboration with Professors William Simmons
and Alexander Falster, experts in analytical
geology at the University of New Orleans, Dr.
Nakamoto discovered the effect of theobromine on
teeth and enamel. Researchers found that this
extract from chocolate, similar in structure to
caffeine, had a beneficial effect on teeth and
stimulated the growth of new enamel. Rennou™, a
proprietary blend of cocoa extract and other
minerals, increases the size of enamel surface
crystals, making teeth less susceptible to
bacterial acid demineralization.
Arman Sadeghpour, whose doctoral dissertation at
Tulane University compared cocoa extract with
fluoride on human teeth, is also a member of
this scientific team. Retirement gave Dr.
Nakamoto the opportunity to focus on his new
project, the founding of Theocorp Holding
Company, to which he was named chief scientific
officer and chairman of the board. Dr.
Sadeghpour is president and chief executive
officer. The company now holds two patents with
two more patents pending.
in the new BioInnovation Center on Canal Street,
100% of the technology has been retained in
Louisiana. Officially launched in January 2012,
Theodent™ Classic can be purchased online. It is
available at Whole Foods Markets in most of the
United States and British Columbia and Ontario
and in Raley’s Supermarkets in California and
Nevada. Theodent™ has a minty, non-chocolate
taste. It is not harmful if swallowed, unlike
fluoride toothpaste, and is safe for children.
The company plans to launch a chocolate-flavored
sugar-free toothpaste for kids early next year.
Nakamoto received his DDS from Nihon University
School of Dentistry in Tokyo, Japan, in 1964. He
came to the United States in 1964 to attend the
University of Michigan School of Dentistry and
received a master’s in prosthodontics in 1966.
He then received two additional master’s
degrees, one in physiology and pharmacology from
the University of North Dakota and a second in
physiology from the University of Michigan. In
1978 he ultimately earned a PhD in nutritional
biochemistry and metabolism from the
Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
same year, Dr. Nakamoto joined the LSUHSC
faculty in the Department of Physiology,
attaining the rank of professor in 1991. He has
published over 100 papers in scientific
journals. In 2006 after Hurricane Katrina, Dr.
Nakamoto retired with the title of professor
Nakamoto continues to lecture in physiology to
students at LSUSD. He is as well-respected in
the Japanese-American community as in the New
Orleans scientific community. Among his honors
is the Order of the Sacred Treasure, Gold Rays
with Rosette, in recognition of outstanding
contributions to friendship between Japan and
the United States of America. The decoration was
conferred by His Majesty the Emperor of Japan in
Tokyo in May 2010.
Nakamoto’s commitment to dentistry has been
evident to his peers and colleagues. We are
honored to celebrate this important milestone in
his career,” said Dean Henry Gremillion. “His
success is our success and we are so proud of