FUN FACT: Apples help kill bacteria in the mouth that causes bad breath! Learn more about other foods that fight bacteria below. The Woodview Oral Surgery Team
An apple is a natural tooth cleaner. The fiber content of the skin gently scraps plaque from the surface of your teeth. Its high water content keeps it from sticking to your enamel and it gives you vitamins that promote healthy gum tissue. Other foods are good tools for oral health as well, offering benefits similar to those of apples, but also providing anti-viral and anti-inflammatory properties. Some stop the growth of existing bacteria in your mouth and some even kill the pathogens that can cause infections and periodontal disease.
Cranberry juice may help stop plaque from forming in your mouth. According to a group of researchers from Israel who published their findings in the “Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy” in 2004, cranberry juice helps stop the growth of biofilms, collections of microorganisms that grow on your teeth and cause tooth decay and periodontal disease. Because previous studies had shown that non-dialysable material in cranberry juice stops the growth of a variety of oral bacteria, the researchers believe that its ability to keep biofilms from collecting may add to the cranberry’s benefits to your oral health.
Dr. Christine Wu, of the College of Dentistry at University of Illinois, has conducted a series of studies on the effect of grape products on teeth. In one of them, published in the “Journal of Nutrition” in 2009, she says that raisins contain antimicrobial compounds that can keep oral pathogens from growing, preventing dental diseases. She also tested grape seed extract and found that it promotes remineralization of tooth enamel after root procedures. Grapes, which are rich in polyphenols, flavonoids, iron, potassium, calcium and B vitamins, promote general health, she adds, which is also beneficial for oral health.
Blackberries may kill pathogens that cause periodontal infections, according to researchers from the University of North Carolina and University of Kentucky. In 2012, they published a study in the “Journal of Periodontal Research” in which they subjected 10 types of mouth bacteria to blackberry extract and found that it offers more than just anti-inflammatory benefits. The compound, they concluded, also showed anti-viral activity, as well as antibacterial properties that reduced the amount of damaging pathogens that cause periodontal disease.
Garlic is known for giving people bad breath, but its antimicrobial properties may make it a good tool to kill mouth bacteria. According to researchers from South Yorkshire, UK, who published a study in the “Archives of Oral Biology,” garlic contains allicin, which inhibits the activity of a compound that causes periodontitis. Garlic also fights gingivalis, a bacteria associated with periodontal disease. The researchers suggest that garlic extract or allicin may be helpful for preventing or treating some types of oral disease.
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