Cranberry in toothpaste could prevent dental decay, say researchers

By Lorraine Heller

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Dental caries

Cranberry compounds could be added to toothpaste or mouth rinse as
a natural protective barrier against tooth decay, dental
researchers have revealed today.

The researchers at the University of Rochester Medical Center said that the same traits that make cranberry juice an effective weapon against bladder infections could also hold promise for protecting teeth against cavities.

Compounds found in cranberry juice make it difficult for bacteria to stick to tooth surfaces. "Stickiness is everything for the microbe Streptococcus mutans, which creates most cavities by eating sugars and then excreting acids that cause dental decay,"​ says the study.

The researchers found that cranberry juice disrupts the formation of glucans, the building blocks of plaque.

"Bacteria use enzymes known as glucosyltransferases to build dental plaque piece by piece, quickly forming a gunky fortress that covers the tooth and gives bacteria a safe haven to munch on sugar, thrive, and churn out acid. Cranberry juice prevents bacteria from forming plaque by inhibiting those enzymes and by stopping additional bacteria from glomming on to the ever-growing goo,"​ say the researchers.

The study, which is due to be published in the January 2006 issue of Caries Research, is funded by the Natioanl Institutes of Health through a special program designed to test the health-enhancing effects of cranberry.

Indeed, the ingredient is already widely used in food applications, and is currently one of the emerging plants in the cosmetic world, meeting consumers' demands for healthier and multi-functional ingredients in products. As an ingredient it has a distinctive pink hue and contains a number of naturally-derived active properties.

For cosmetics applications the ingredient is likely to prove an excellent colorant for a variety of cosmetics products, including blushers, eye shadow and lipstick.

"The powder provides a rich red colour and importantly it is naturally derived, which is a key driving force behind marketing it for these kind of applications,"​ said Decas Botanical Synergies, which recently introduced NutriCran Organic, a 100 per cent organic cranberry powder.

Sourced in Canada and Lappland, Sweden, the berries have potent anti-oxidising properties due to high quantities of polyphenols toctrienols - a natural source of vitamin E. Likewise the cranberry seeds consist of a balance of omega 3 and Omega 6 unsaturated fatty acids, which is said to allow the restoration of the skin's protective barrier.

The ingredient is also likely to become a good option for formulators of anti-aging products. It falls in line with the drive to increase the percentage of natural or organically derived ingredients in cosmetics ingredients as well as the growing demand for ingredients with expectional antioxidants properties.

Antioxidants have been scientifically proven to help reduce physical signs of aging and as a consequence ingredients boasting strong antioxidant properties have become much sort after for anti-aging treatments.

A study conducted by the Clemson University in Southern California back in 2003 concluded that the antioxidant properties of berry fruits make them ideal for use in anti-aging treatments.

Related topics Colour Cosmetics

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