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Cranberries prevent tooth decay & cavities

Cranberries also prevent tooth decay and cavities, apart from their role in preventing urinary tract infections.

Cranberries prevent tooth decay & cavities

Cranberries also prevent tooth decay and cavities, apart from their role in preventing urinary tract infections. Cranberries can be boiled into a jelly, which is an essential part of American holiday meals. The sticky compound in the hard red fruit helps to keep bacteria at bay in the bladder and prevents the bacteria from clinging on to teeth. It also seems to ward off dental plaque, a sticky substance formed from bits of food, saliva and acid that harbours the bacteria and eventually irritates the gums. However, researchers from the University of Rochester Medical Center in New York, USA warned people not to drink or eat excessive amounts of cranberry-containing products. The biggest problem with any cranberry product is that the food industry adds sugar to them, which is the main cause for cavities. The fruit is also loaded with natural acid that can strip away essential minerals in the teeth. To find out the effectiveness of cranberries in preventing cavities, researchers conducted a study during which they coated a synthetic material that acts like tooth enamel, called hydroxyapatite, with cranberry juice. They then applied the cavity-causing bacteria Streptococcus mutans, plaque, or glucan - a type of enzyme that helps in building plaque. After 7 months, it was found that cranberries were 80 percent effective in protecting teeth. Tooth decay is one of the most common conditions among Americans, second only to common cold. Hence the ultimate goal is to extract the berry's protective properties and add them to toothpaste or mouthwash, but it is still unclear exactly why the fruit is so effective. More laboratory tests are needed to isolate the active compounds before clinical trials with patients can be considered.
Caries Research,
November 2005
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