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Cranberries May Fight Cavities

Study: Antioxidants in Cranberries Thwart a Major Bacterial Cavity Culprit
WebMD Health News
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

June 28, 2006 -- Cranberries may put the brakes on tooth decay, a new study shows.

That finding was presented today at the International Association for Dental Research's 84th General Session & Exhibition in Brisbane, Australia.

Researchers included Hyun Koo, DDS, PhD, of the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry.

Koo and colleagues tested two cranberry antioxidants -- quercetin and myricetin -- against a bacterium called Streptococcus mutans, a leading cause of tooth decay.

The researchers didn't ask people to chew on cranberries. Instead, they exposed Streptococcus mutans to the berry's antioxidants in lab tests.

The antioxidants made it harder for the bacterium to behave normally, the study shows.

Weakened by the antioxidants, Streptococcus mutans might not be able to help make dental plaque the way it normally does, the researchers note.

The study doesn't show how many cranberries it would take to protect your teeth.

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