Who knew red berries could sharpen your pearly whites?

Compounds in red wine can prevent cavities and plaque build-up, a study published in the dental health journal Caries Research claims.

According to Hyun Koo, a microbiologist and lead researcher at the University of Rochester Medical Center in New York, these compounds, polyphenols, block molecules in the mouth that normally break down sugar and attract bacteria to cling to and damage teeth surfaces. The bacteria also produces an acid that erodes tooth enamel.

However, fermented grape stems, seeds, and skins from wine and cranberries contain a high amount of polyphenols that help block the ability for enamel damage, allowing good bacteria in the mouth to thrive.

“The oral cavity is a very rich microbial environment, so you can’t just smoke [the bad bacteria] out,” Koo told MyHealthNewsDaily. “There are beneficial and pathogenic organisms.”

In the study, researchers fed rats with cranberry compounds and found that the bacteria’s production of acid and molecules were reduced by 70 percent. Cavities also reduced by 45 percent.

But don’t get berry happy to fast.

Koo warned that consuming cranberry sauce and heaps of red wine won’t exhibit dental benefits immediately. Cranberry products that are packaged and sold in stores have high amounts of sugar and red wine can stain the teeth. Fruit in its raw form are the most beneficial.

Koo and his fellow researchers’ goal is to find a way to add these compounds to toothpaste, floss, mouthwash and other dental products to help combat plaque and cavities.


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