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Cranberry Juice For Cavities? Be Careful Of What You're Buying

By Dave Saunders

Researchers at the University of Rochester have published information showing that the cranberry may be effective at preventing tooth decay. The research focuses on the inhibiting effect of some compounds found inside the cranberry against a key bacterium blamed in the formation of cavities.

"Scientists believe that one of the main ways that cranberries prevent urinary tract infections is by inhibiting the adherence of pathogens on the surface of the bladder. Perhaps the same is true in the mouth, where bacteria use adhesion molecules to hold onto teeth, says Dr. Michel Koo, an oral biologist and food scientist at the university's medical center.

While this may sound like good news for those who are looking for natural ways to support their body, it's very important to understand what's in cranberry juice before making a purchase. Always remember to read the labels. Most cranberry juice is cranberry flavored apple juice. Sometimes it is also mixed with grape juice. Other ingredients may even include high-Fructose corn syrup. Towards the end of the ingredient list is found cranberry concentrate.

While, drinking apple juice and grape juice is probably a dietary improvement for most people, juices that are made with so much processed sugar are clearly little more than cranberry flavored juices. They're unlikely to contain significant amounts of the compounds that make cranberries useful in the prevention of tooth decay and tend to contain large amounts of the compounds that are blamed on tooth decay.

Purer forms of cranberry juice have a very strong flavor. Some people can develop a taste for unsweetened cranberries, while other people can only handle cranberries when blended with some other juice. If choosing a cranberry blend, be sure to read the ingredient label and avoid juices that are sweetened with processed sugars and diluted with juices that are mostly the sugars that lead to cavities.

Further research will be necessary before cranberries can actually be promoted as a preventative for tooth decay. However others sugars such as Xylose, are already used in "sugarless gums because of their proven ability to inhibit bacterial development on the surface of teeth. Such gums are of course called sugarless because they do not have sucrose and glucose which are the sugars associated with cavities.

Cranberries have also been shown to have beneficial effects for people with chronic urinary tract infections. The compound believed to be responsible for this is a simple monosaccharide sugar called Mannose. Identified in Harpers Biochemistry as one of eight sugars necessary for normal cellular function, Mannose has also been shown to prevent bacterial infection and development.

These necessary monosaccharide sugars can all be found in a single dietary supplement. It also contains the other sugars identified in Harpers Biochemistry, based of their importance in biological functions. This can provide a more convenient choice for people wishing to improve their diets by increasing their nutrient intake while limiting the intake of food compounds which are not beneficial to good health.

About The Author
Dave Saunders is a certified nutrition and health educator and the host of a weekly telephone presentation on nutrition.


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