Blackberries: Possible treatment for oral bacterial diseases
LEXINGTON, Ky., USA: New research has provided evidence that blackberry extract could be used to control the growth of oral pathogens on dental and mucosal surfaces. In a number of tests, the researchers found that it inhibited the metabolic activity of the causative agents of periodontal disease and dental caries in particular.
In the study, researchers from the University of Kentucky tested the antimicrobial effects of blackberry extract on ten different oral bacteria. Among others, they observed that the extract significantly reduced the metabolic activity of Porphyromonas gingivalis and Fusobacterium nucleatum, two pathogens known to cause periodontal diseases, by about 40 percent, and that it inhibited Streptococcus mutans, the primary agent of dental caries, by approximately 30 percent. In addition, they found that at higher concentrations the extract had the ability to kill oral bacteria.
To date, mouth rinse containing chlorhexidine, a chemical antiseptic, has been one of the most effective antimicrobial agents against the colonization of oral bacteria responsible for gingivitis and periodontitis. However, its side effects, such as staining and abrasion, limit its prolonged use as antimicrobial agent by the general population. Thus, blackberry extract might be a promising adjunct for prevention and treatment of periodontal infections, the scientists concluded.
Although the mechanisms underlying the antimicrobial effects are not fully understood, the researchers suggested that berry-derived polyphenols, which can be found in red wine, citrus and black tea too, could be involved the process.
According to the researchers, oral inflammatory disease affects about 50 percent of the U.S. population. The disease is associated with several systemic diseases, including diabetes, cardiovascular events, and preterm and low birth weight deliveries.
The study will be published in the February issue of the Journal of Periodontal Research.