Certain foods seem to really have deserved the term ‘super’, and blueberries are definitely within this category. Succulent, sweet and tart, these delicious berries are chock full of vitamin A, antioxidants and a whole host of immune boosting agents and new ones are being discovered every day. But it turns out that there are special compounds in blueberries that can help fight against gum disease and can regulate the bacterial content of your mouth. Just another day in the science of nutrition. Read on to find out how a blueberry can save you from gum disease!
A recent study conducted it Laval University in Quebec, Canada has proven that the polyphenols that are found in blueberries prohibit bacteria form forming biofilm. Bacteria that live in the mouth create their own environment through secreting a sticky substance known as biofilm. This material hardens into plaque and then into tartar, and contains the acidic secretions that cause tooth decay. These bacteria are also pushed under the gum during eating, and start to infect the gum tissues, causing gingivitis and periodontitis. If the bacteria cannot form a biofilm, then they die, and do not cause tartar and plaque to form.
The research worked using blueberry extract, and actually treated severe periodontitis with nothing but the polyphenols extracted from wild blueberries. The distinction is important, as domesticated blueberries have higher sugar content, and are not as rich in bitter polyphenols as their wild cousins. After the blueberry extract was applied to periodontitis patients following a deep cleaning session, the bacteria went into remission and the bacterial colonies were broken up and absorbed by the body.
Scientists are now hoping to utilize this knowledge, and are developing a method to have controlled release of this extract over time into the periodontium. The work is slow but progress is being made, and would come as no surprise if the periodontal treatment of the future would leave your lips tasting like blueberries. A non-aggressive and non-invasive treatment to periodontitis much needed, as right now surgery is one of the only options for patients suffering from periodontitis.