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The Humble Cranberry

The Humble Cranberry

Wednesday, October 11th 2006

"We know that brushing, flossing and regular dental cleanings reduces the risk of developing periodontitis by helping to prevent the onset of gingivitis, or gum infection", said Julie Labrecque, from the University of Laval and lead researcher of the study. "With this new study, cranberries may provide an interesting ingredient in the development of new therapeutic approaches for treatment of periodontitis."

For centuries cranberries have been valued for their ability to support the health of the urinary tract and help treat urinary tract infections. In the early 1990's researchers discovered cranberry's "anti-adhesion" activity. This anti-adhesion effect is primarily due to special type-A structure proanthocyanidins (PACs) found naturally in cranberries. These Type-A PACs help guard the body from certain harmful bacteria that cause urinary tract infections. More recent research has shown they may also be beneficial for stomach ulcers and gum disease.

Recent findings published in the Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy reveal that the cranberry may be the next new weapon in the fight for good oral health. Researchers have discovered that natural compounds in cranberries may help ward off periodontitis, or severe gum disease, by serving as a powerful anti-inflammatory agent. This anti-inflammatory effect may be attributed to unique compounds in the fruit that prevent P.gingivalis bacteria from adhering to the teeth below the gum line. This new research offers great promise for the millions of people affected by periodontitis, the primary cause of tooth loss in adults.

In this study, researchers discovered that cranberry compounds can reduce the growth of P.gingivalis and subsequent plaque development - the initial step in the development of periodontitis. Periodontitis occurs when inflammation or infection of the gums is left untreated or treatment is delayed. Infection and inflammation spreads from the gums to the ligaments and bones that support the teeth and eventually leads to tooth loss.

In addition to preventing the growth of P.gingivalis, previous research has shown that cranberry compounds may also prevent certain oral bacteria from directly destroying gum tissue itself - another major factor contributing to periodontitis. This may have more widespread implications as recent studies have also linked severe gum disease with an increased likelihood for heart disease and stroke.

Reproduced unabridged from the October - December 2006 issue of Health and Herbal News, with the kind permission of Health and Herbs International Ltd.

Footnote from Ideal Health:

The following products are all useful for Tooth and Gum Health:

Ethi Cal Bone Builder
Hi Strength Q10 Absorb 6X 150mg
Nutrismile Mouthwash
Q Silica Original Colloidal Silica
Natural Propolis Toothgel
Inner Health Plus

Related health information can be found here:

Acid and alkaline forming foods
Beet Root - a splendid liver and kidney cleanser, full of nutrients and iron
Vegetable broth
Vegetable juices
Water, the elixir of life

Related articles can be found here:

A true herbal antimicrobial - the power of "True" Oregano Oil
Probiotic update - Reuteri
Repair gastrointestinal damage with Colostrum
Why take Primadophilus?

If you need help or advice, you are welcome to email our naturopathic team with your health question.

Disclaimer: The health information presented here has been written for the New Zealand health consumer. It is of a general nature and is only intended to provide a summary of the subjects covered. The information is not intended to be comprehensive or to provide medical advice to you. While all care has been taken to ensure the accuracy of the information, no responsibility or liability is accepted, and no person should act in reliance on any statement contained in the information provided. All health ailments should be treated by a qualified health professional.


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