Blueberry extract may help prevent gum disease

Preventing the formation of plaque would reduce the need for antibiotics to control infections they can cause.

By Stephen Feller

WASHINGTON, Sept. 2 (UPI) -- An extract from wild blueberries could help prevent the formation of plaque on teeth, which can lead to gum disease and periodontitis, according to a new study.

Reducing the chances of developing periodontitis also could reduce reliance on antibiotics, which often are used to eliminate infection from the condition that can lead to the destruction of gum tissue that protects the teeth.


Researchers began considering whether blueberry polyphenols could fight a species of bacteria associated with periodontitis based on their effectiveness against foodborne pathogens, according to a press release.

The researchers tested an extract from the wild lowbush blueberry, which in the lab successfully inhibited the growth of one of the main species of bacteria that causes the formation of plaque, Fusobacterium nucleatum. It also blocked the molecular pathway involved in gum inflammation.

Following the success of the lab test, the researchers are working on a device that can release the extract to further protect patients' gums after a deep dental cleaning.

The study is published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.

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