Last week we spoke about the Pilgrims, and how they probably used natural versions of today’s toothbrushes to attempt to stave off cavities. These days, not only do we have an almost overwhelming choice when it comes to toothbrushes, toothpastes, flosses, mouthrinses, and other various instruments of oral hygiene, but we have much more advanced science. Researchers are constantly working to uncover compounds and elements from a host of sources that show potential to halt the various bacteria that cause tooth decay and gum disease. In the spirit of the month of Thanksgiving, your Reno dentists explain how the cranberry sauce that is likely to take up residence next to the turkey on your holiday table might end up being turned into toothpaste one day.
Cranberry’s Cavity-Fighting Compound
In 2005, an oral biologist by the name of Dr. Hyun (Michel) Koo headed a team of researchers at the University of Rochester Medical Center. Their goal: to uncover the potential of highly concentrated cranberry juice in protecting teeth from Streptococcus mutans, the bacteria that cause tooth decay. S. mutans, rely on plaque covered teeth and a generally sticky environment to cause full blown cavities. Cranberry juice has been thought to prevent urinary tract infections by stopping certain pathogens from adhering to the bladder. This same sort of principle seems promising in preventive dental care if the right quantity of the compound can be extracted from cranberries, and teeth receive enough exposure.
More Power of the Cranberry
Koo’s team also uncovered that cranberry juice has the potential to stop the formation of plaque – the very sticky biofilm that cranberries already have the ability to shield from bacteria. Glucosyltransferases is a particular enzyme that plays a huge role in plaque formation. Without any plaque to coat teeth, S. mutans won’t stick to teeth, and tooth decay will lose the battle inside your mouth.
Though the cranberry’s powerful compounds are a promising discovery in science, it will take more studies and development before you see cranberry flavored mouthwash on the shelves. You still have power over your dental health, through brushing, flossing, and regular dental checkups. To arrange an appointment with Dr. Wager or Dr. Evans, feel free to contact our Reno dentist office at 775-829-7700. We are proud to provide comprehensive dentistry to patients in the 89502 zip code, and surrounding neighborhoods.