Cranberry Juice Cuts Cavities
All That Sugar in Your Cranberry Sauce Won't Help, However
Nov. 23, 2005 -- Cranberry juice curbs cavities, new research shows.
The juice contains a chemical that blocks cavity-causing bacteria from
sticking to teeth, scientists report in Caries Research.
"Something in the cranberry juice disarms the pathogens that cause tooth
decay," researcher Hyun (Michel) Koo, DDS, PhD, says in a news release.
Koo is an oral biologist at New York's University of Rochester Medical
How Cranberries Work
The tart cranberry is a staple of the Thanksgiving table. It's also well
known for its work against urinary tract infections.
"Scientists believe that one of the main ways that cranberries prevent
urinary tract infections is by inhibiting the adherence of pathogens on the
surface of the bladder," says Koo. This means preventing bacteria from
attaching to the urinary tract and tracking back to cause an infection.
"Perhaps the same is true in the mouth, where bacteria use adhesion
molecules to hold on to teeth," he continues.
Basically, Koo's team found that cranberry juice thwarted that adhesion
process. The cavity-causing bacteria can't do their dirty work without latching
Before you serve extra helpings of cranberry sauce, remember that the
studies only included cranberry juice.
What's more, the juice had no sweeteners in it, unlike mainstream cranberry
drinks. Koo's team focused on science, not gourmet flavors.
The scientists plan to isolate cranberry's key anticavity chemical, which
may one day be used in toothpastes or mouth rinses, states the news
Meanwhile, Koo suggests avoiding cavities with simple steps like brushing
your teeth, limiting sugary foods, and getting proper dental care.