Gum disease is a common condition among adults. Some severe cases, called periodontitis, call for antibiotics. But now scientists have discovered that wild blueberry extract could help prevent dental plaque formation.
Their report in ACS’ Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry could lead to a new therapy for periodontitis and a reduced need for antibiotics.
Daniel Grenier and colleagues wanted to see if blueberry polyphenols, which work against foodborne pathogens, could also help fight Fusobacterium nucleatum, one of the main species of bacteria associated with periodontitis.
In the lab, the researchers tested extracts from the wild lowbush blueberry, Vaccinium angustifolium Ait., against F. nucleatum.
The polyphenol-rich extracts successfully inhibited the growth of F. nucleatum, as well as its ability to form biofilms. It also blocked a molecular pathway involved in inflammation, a key part of gum disease.
The researchers say they’re developing an oral device that could slowly release the extract after deep cleaning to help treat periodontitis.