03.09.2016 Cranberries and Oral Health Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on LinkedIn If you’ve ever bitten into a fresh cranberry, then you know there is nothing else quite like it. They’re naturally low in sugar, extremely tart and offer a satisfying crunch. And – fortunately for you – emerging research shows that cranberries could potentially help keep your mouth chewing away even after you’ve eaten them, promoting oral health by helping to reduce the activity of cavity-forming bacteria in the mouth1. This is all good news too, because promoting oral health is more important than ever. According to the World Health Organization: “worldwide, 60–90% of school children and nearly 100% of adults have dental cavities, often leading to pain and discomfort”. Left unattended, these cavities can also eventually lead to costly professional dental care – something which is often inaccessible to those among poor and disadvantaged populations – groups which the WHO says see a higher prevalence of oral disease. So how does the cranberry help promote oral health? Well, the science behind it all is still being investigated, but it’s believed that the unique combination of compounds in the cranberry, such as Type-A proanthocyanidins (PACs), that provide an antibacterial effect in other parts of the body may help suppress cavity-causing bacteria in the mouth as well2. Which means that in addition to eating the cranberry, there may be a day in the future when toothpastes with cranberry components are used to protect your teeth. While research continues on the specifics, one thing is for certain: it is a delicious and nutrient-dense fruit and more than 50 years of research suggests that they play an essential role in promoting health and wellness. The fact that it may help keep your teeth chomping on every other food is just a bonus. 1 Bonifait L, Grenier D. Cranberry polyphenols: potential benefits for dental caries and periodontal disease. Journal of the Canadian Dental Association, 2010; 76: a130. 2 Shmuely H, Ofek I, Weiss EI, Rones Z, Houri-Haddad Y. Cranberry components for the therapy of infectious disease. Curr Opin Biotechnol. 2012; 23(2):148-52.