Cranberry Extracts Fight Tooth Decay


Cranberries are a popular preventive treatment for urinary infections as they help stop bacteria sticking to the bladder wall. Now it seems this same action can occur in the mouth to help prevent tooth decay.

Cranberries, from the peat bogs of North America, are a rich source of unique polyphenols known as A-type proanthocyanidins (PAC). These have been shown to lock onto the feeler-like fimbriae of E.coli bacteria and stop them sticking to the urinary tract wall. This anti-adhesin activity helps to protect against E.coli urinary tract infections in both children and adults. Researchers therefore investigated whether cranberry PACs could stop similar bacteria from sticking to teeth to form a build up of plaque that is associated with tooth decay.

Cranberry extracts protect teeth

Fifty dental students volunteered to use either a gold-standard 0.2% chlorhexidine mouthwash or a 0.6% cranberry extract mouthwash, twice a day, for 14 days. Plaque samples were analysed before and after, and both groups showed a similar 68% reduction in the growth of Streptococcus mutans bacteria after the treatment.

Cranberry dental products are in development, but in the meantime, avoid the temptation to rinse your mouth with cranberry juice drinks; the high level of acidity can damage your tooth enamel.

Cranberry juice and extracts are better known for their antibacterial action against urinary tract infections.

Read more about how cranberry supplements can reduce urinary infections, on my Expert Health Reviews site.

Image credit: liz_west/flickr

About Dr Sarah Brewer

QUORA EXPERT - TOP WRITER 2018 Dr Sarah Brewer MSc (Nutr Med), MA (Cantab), MB, BChir, RNutr, MBANT, CNHC Cert IoD qualified from Cambridge University with degrees in Natural Sciences, Medicine and Surgery. After working in general practice, she gained a master's degree in nutritional medicine from the University of Surrey. Sarah is a registered Medical Doctor, a registered Nutritionist and a registered Nutritional Therapist. She is an award winning author of over 70 popular self-help books and a columnist for Prima magazine.

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