For the study, the researchers used high-quality extracts of cranberry, blueberry, and strawberry, and a combination of the three berry extracts. They used these extracts to treat 24-hour-old Streptococcus mutans biofilms. Then, they assessed these biofilms for metabolic activity, acidogenicity, biovolumes, structural organization, and bacterial viability.
The researchers found that the biofilms treated with the cranberry and combination extracts demonstrated the greatest decline in metabolic activity, acid production, and bacterial/exopolysaccharide (EPS) biovolumes. In addition, the structural architecture of these biofilms appeared less compact compared to the control-treated biofilms.
The biofilms treated with blueberry extract also exhibited significant reductions in metabolic activity and acidogenicity, but only at the highest concentration tested. The blueberry extract did not affect bacterial/EPS biovolumes nor biofilm architecture.
Based on these results, the researchers suggested that cranberry extract was most effective in inhibiting S. mutans virulence properties without substantially affecting bacterial viability. This suggests a potential ecological role for cranberry phenols as non-bactericidal agents capable of modulating pathogenicity of cariogenic biofilms. (Related: Cranberries contain possible anti-caries/anti-plaque agents (press release).)
Dark-colored berries, being rich in polyphenols, could be used as natural weapons against dental caries. The findings of this study support previous research by indicating that these are beneficial for preventing bad bacteria from sticking to the teeth and gums. This, in turn, could help lower the risk of tooth decay, plaque, and gum disease.
There are also other foods that can help you maintain oral health aside from dark-colored berries. These include:
Read more news stories and studies on foods that support oral health by going to FoodIsMedicine.com.