New research has suggested that berries could hold the key to healthy smiles.
Scientists have discovered that dark berries, including blueberries and cranberries, contain nutrients, which could help to reduce the risk of dental decay. The research, which has been published in the European Journal of Oral Sciences, suggests that these berries contain nutrients that protect the teeth against specific strains of bacteria, which are proven to accelerate decay.
The study builds on previous research, which suggests that polyphenols, which are key nutrients found in berries, play a useful role in promoting good oral health by preventing harmful bacteria from clinging to the tooth surfaces. By preventing bacteria sticking to the teeth, polyphenols could subsequently help to prevent gum disease, decay and bad breath.
During the trial period, researchers used high-quality extracts of three different types of berries, strawberries, cranberries and blueberries and a mixture of all three (known as orophenol) to treat Streptococcus mutans biofilms. These biofilms were 24 hours old and they were assessed and analysed by the research team to evaluate “metabolic activity, acidogenicity, biovolumes, structural organisation and bacterial viability.”
Researchers found that the cranberry and orophenol extracts brought about the most significant reductions in metabolic activity and acid production. The blueberry extract also produced significant reductions when used at the highest concentration.
Dr Nigel Carter OBE, chief executive of the Oral Health Foundation, said that nutrients found in fruit and vegetables are essential for good oral health, as well as general health, and suggested that polyphenols could potentially have a role to play in the future of manufacturing oral hygiene products. In addition to protecting the teeth, cranberries and blueberries are delicious, they’re a sweet treat, and the best thing is that they contain only natural sugars.