Fall brings to mind the harvest of many fruits and vegetables. The iconic image of the fall harvest is the cornucopia, overflowing with delicious natural treats. Treasures like apples, pears, and grapes grace our tables and fill our stomachs. Crunching these fibrous, nutritious foods benefits our dental health, as well as our bodily health. They clean our teeth and freshen our breath. Antioxidants from fruits and vegetables help protect gum tissue, as well. One special fruit, cranberries, may hold a key to preventing tooth decay. In this post, Livonia dentist Dr. James Stewart describes an interesting study about cranberries and tooth decay.
Plaque-Fighting Compounds in Cranberries
Plaque has long been known as the enemy of good dental health. You can combat plaque by limiting foods rich in sugar, starch, and acid. You can rinse away organisms that cause plaque by drinking water after meals or snacks. You can brush your teeth twice a day to remove plaque, sugar, and acid from your teeth. Could you use one more weapon in the battle against plaque? Scientists are discovering a new weapon made of compounds from cranberries, a favorite fall food.
Cranberries contain compounds that disrupt the production of plaque-producing microorganisms, such as glucans and acid. Sugar attracts bacteria to your teeth. The bacteria, including Streptococcus mutans, which is the bacteria responsible for tooth decay, create glucans. .Acid production is also a result of the presence of sugar. Tooth enamel begins to break down and eventually tooth decay occurs.
A recent study, funded in part by the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, found that particular cranberry molecules decrease the production of glucans and acid by up to 70 percent. The study also tested the compounds on rats. Cavity formation in those rats was decreased by up to 45 percent. The compounds in cranberries disrupt the two most harmful actions of Streptococcus mutans, acid production and glucan production.
The plaque-fighting compounds in cranberries cannot be applied directly to teeth. Also, we cannot eat cranberries and reap the dental health benefits. Scientists hope to devise a way to use the compounds in professional or homecare dental products.
State-of-the-Art Dental Care in Livonia
Dr. Stewart is committed to continual learning, sharing interesting updates in dental health with you, and integrating state-of-the-art practices in dental care to serve residents of Livonia, Plymouth, and areas surrounding the 48154 zip code. To become a patient this fall, or to continue your dental care relationship with Dr. Stewart, call (734) 425-4400. We provide the latest and best available care for patients of all ages.