Although many people know that fruits and vegetables provide health benefits, not everyone focuses on the potential oral health benefits. Luckily, scientists around the world focus their efforts on isolating and identifying natural compounds which benefit tooth health. During the holiday season, people tend to shift their focus towards travel plans and gatherings, but should make an effort to consider their oral health this year. Your Waco dentist, Dr. Corbet Locke, discusses how cranberries can benefit teeth.

Cranberry Crazy

A food scientist/microbiologist from the University of Rochester recently detailed his finding which included extensive research on cranberries. The scientist showed that a certain compound found inside cranberries can limit the harmful effects of oral bacteria known as Streptococcus mutans. These harmful bacteria prey upon unsuspecting tooth enamel. In many cases, these harmful bacteria will stow away in plaque while they wait for their next feeding frenzy. These bacteria feed on sugars and carbohydrates, then produce acids to attack tooth enamel.

Unfortunately, tooth enamel cannot regrow and does not regenerate. Luckily, the scientist also determined that the same cranberry compound can also limit plaque growth. Further tests and studies are still needed before we can all grab cranberry-flavored toothpaste. The scientists hope to extract the cranberry compound to use in sugar-free gums, mouthwash, throat lozenges, and toothpaste.

Sugar Shock

Cranberry consumption often peaks around late November. However, many of the store-bought cranberry products feature a wealth of added sugar and harmful additives. Although research suggests that cranberries can limit tooth decay and plaque development, we do not recommend an all-out cranberry feast this holiday season. The added sugar in most of these products could actually increase the risk for tooth decay and cavities. In many cases, people enjoy eating dried cranberries. Dried fruits notoriously stick between teeth and often cause cavities. For this holiday season, simply schedule a checkup and cleaning instead of trying to fight cavities with cranberry sauce.

Schedule Your Waco Dental Visit

Interested in learning more about the benefits of cranberries? Due for a checkup? Schedule an appointment by calling our Waco dentist office at (254) 776-4888. We welcome patients from Waco, Woodway, McGregor, Hewitt, the 76712 zip code, and surrounding communities.