Cranberry product developers have received a boost from research that has shown the berry, best known for its capacity to combat urinary tract infections, is effective in reducing gum disease and tooth decay. Researchers at the University of Rochester in New York found cranberry consumption blocks bacteria from attaching to teeth, preventing plaque buildup.
The research prompted Britain?s leading oral health charity, the British Dental Health Foundation, to endorse the antioxidant-laden fruit as being beneficial to oral health with a caveat concerning appropriate consumption.
Dr Nigel Carter, chief executive of the British Dental Health Foundation (BDHF), commented: ?With the number of cranberry-containing toothpastes and flosses on the market increasing, it seems that oral health companies are taking advantage of the benefits of cranberries. However, it is important to also be aware of the negatives. Cranberry juice is naturally very acidic. Every time you drink something acidic the enamel on your teeth is softened temporarily.?
The BDHF recommended consuming cranberry juice only at meal times, a statement that lends further support to the use of cranberry-imbued oral health products. One such product is cranberry-coated dental floss from the Radius Toothbrush company in the US. The floss is coated with Ocean Spray?s cranberry juice concentrate, which is removed during the action of flossing and deposited on the gums to help break up plaque.
About 5 million people visit the dentist with toothaches every year in the UK, and the vast majority of these are the result of tooth decay. Globally, it is estimated 90 per cent of adults will suffer from gum disease in their lifetime.
Cranberries became the world?s first fruit to receive a health claim in April 2004 in France.
The University of Rochester study was part of a National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine $2.6 million initiative that is funding nine cranberry studies.