Do Cranberries Help Prevent Cavities?

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Thanksgiving is one of our nation’s most beloved holidays. It’s the one day it’s “okay” to eat whatever you want without feeling guilty or having to count calories. One popular table item may specifically possess a property to protect our teeth against cavities–the cranberry.

Not too long ago researchers learned a compound discovered in cranberries and some red wines can effectively fend off tooth decay caused by a harmful bacterium, Streptococcus Mutans or S. Mutans, which is the root cause of sugar-related cavities.

A professor at The University of Rochester Medical Center tested the compounds found in cranberries, and found that they break down the enzymes S. Mutans uses to form harmful plaque that coats teeth. The less amount of plaque that accumulates on your teeth, the less of a chance you may need a dental filling.

This discovery is exciting, as scientists are always working on ways to adapt new technology to incorporate into new dental products such as toothpaste that better protect against cavities.

However, I don’t suggest you go crazy on the cranberry sauce this Thanksgiving. Generally, cranberry sauce and cranberry juice cocktail have a lot of sugar. While the beneficial compound still exists in these holiday favorites, the sugar used to make them probably cancels out most of the positive results. I suggest getting 100% unsweetened cranberry juice from a health food store.

If you are visiting the family or close friends, ask if you can use their mouthwash after you eat to wash away certain sugars, food particles and dark beverage stains you might have accumulated throughout the day. Happy Thanksgiving!

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