Blackberries could treat gum disease

So, how is this for a bit of contradictory information? We recently said that blackberries should be avoided since they can stain your teeth. And lo and behold, new research surfaces that claim blackberry extract can actually control the growth of oral bacteria, thereby preventing or treating cavities and progression of gum disease.

Researchers from the University of Kentucky tested the effects of blackberry extract on ten different oral bacteria, and they found that the extract significantly reduces the metabolic activity of the bacteria known to cause periodontal disease and cavities by up to 40 percent. They also found that at high concentrations, the extract could kill the bacteria.

The researchers have even suggested that berry-derived polyphenols, which are found in red wine and black tea as well, could also be involved in this blackberry extract process. In other words, is this yet another reason to drink red wine and black teas? Many doctors have already recommended it due to the heart health benefits.

So, what to do with this conflicting information?

It’s true that blackberries, black tea, and red wine will stain and discolor your teeth over time. It’s also true that research has shown that they have health benefits, which now includes fighting periodontal disease and cavity-causing bacteria. However, another mantra is also true, and that’s one of all things in moderation. If you add blackberries to every meal, you will see discoloration of your teeth almost immediately. Maybe add a few blackberries to your diet every week if you have a tendency to develop cavities or are currently treating periodontal disease. Add one glass of wine or glass of black tea to your daily diet, unless you’re already a steady wine or tea drinker. Don’t over-consume any of these; remember to moderate.

The blackberry research study will be published in the February issue of the Journal of Periodontal Research.

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