Is fighting gum disease as easy as blueberries?
Many people realize that blueberries have antioxidant properties, but how do they stand up against periodontal (gum) disease? Wild blueberries do quite well, according to an August 2015 article published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.
Lowbush blueberry (Vaccinium angustifolium Ait.) was used in the Canadian study. The antibacterial activity in the blueberry extract inhibited the grown of periodontal bacteria. It stopped the bacteria in its tracks! Researchers plan to develop an oral appliance that will slowly release anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory blueberry extract right onto a patient’s teeth. This will be very effective after a deep, periodontal cleaning.
Why is this berry exciting news?
About 70% of Americans 65 and older have some form of gum disease. And there are risk factors that can increase the chances of it affecting you. Some of the risks are:
- Smoking – Tobacco use can be a gum irritant. It can also restrict your blood flow, both of which can contribute to gum disease.
- Poor nutrition and obesity – Insufficient nutrients can lower your immune response and make it harder for your body to fight infection—including periodontal disease. Research shows that obesity may also increase the risk.
- Stress – If you are stressed out, your body will have difficulty fighting infection and disease—gum disease included.
- Excessive alcohol consumption – Alcohol dries your mouth. A dry mouth is more susceptible to bacterial and plaque buildup, which precede gum disease.
- Certain prescription medication – Certain prescription medication can affect your oral health. Medication that decreases saliva production or that otherwise irritates oral tissue can lead to periodontal disease.
Some of the risk factors mentioned cannot be avoided. Progressive gum disease can cause teeth to loosen, and it can even affect the jawbone. Missing teeth need some form of replacement, which may be a dental bridge, a partial denture, or dental implants.
So the ability to use blueberry extract as a natural way to help fight gum disease and maintain good oral health is a very exciting prospect!
This post is sponsored by Colorado Springs dentist Dr. Joseph Rota.