There are so many traditional, delicious foods at Thanksgiving that it’s easy to lose track of what makes them all so amazing. But there’s one that stands out from the rest. Cranberry sauce is not just a delicious addition, it’s an oral health superfood that can support your regular dental care.
As a dark-colored berry, it should come as no surprise that cranberries are packed with nutrients. In particular, they contain a type of polyphenol called proanthocyanidins. These proanthocyanidins are responsible for a commonly-touted benefit of cranberries: they prevent bacteria from binding to one another and other things, which helps reduce the risk of urinary tract infection.
But these proanthocyanidins can also affect the ability of bacteria to stick to each other elsewhere, which is especially helpful in your mouth. You see, when bacteria stick to each other, they create a biofilm, and we have a name for that in your mouth: plaque. That’s right, cranberry juice prevents plaque.
Cranberry juice prevents plaque by inhibiting the production of the complex sugars that bacteria use to stick to one another and to surfaces in your mouth. It’s so effective, that it can reduce the amount of plaque by up to 95% for some species of harmful oral bacteria. It also makes it harder for these bacteria to make acid, so the ones that do manage to stick to your teeth won’t do as much damage to your enamel.
And cranberry compounds also limit the ability of gum disease-causing bacteria to stick to your teeth and gums. It also cuts down on the prevalence of key amino acids that these bacteria depend on to grow and survive. And they inhibit the production of proteins that lead to the destruction of gum tissue and bone, reducing the damage from gum disease.
You’re justified if you’re a little skeptical that cranberry juice can do all of that. After all, scientists often conduct experiments using crazy amounts of compounds that we couldn’t possibly use in our everyday life. But not in this case. In the case of cranberries, it only takes a reasonable dose of cranberry juice to produce significant impact. One study showed that a beverage containing just 25% cranberry juice actually reduce plaque formation by 67-85%. Now that’s a significant impact!
If you want to make sure you’re getting the full effect of cranberry proanthocyanidins on Thanksgiving, prepare a homemade cranberry sauce so you know it has a significant cranberry concentration, and isn’t just artificial flavors, colors, and lots of unnecessary sugar.
Here’s to a happy holiday for you and your family, and an invitation that if you need any dental care, please call 509-368-7788 for an appointment with a Spokane dentist at Collins Dentistry & Aesthetics.
Or office in Spokane is located at:
3151 E. 28th Ave.
Spokane, WA 99223
Office phone # 509-368-7788