Ongoing dental research: Do the health benefits of berries make it past the mouth?

Research has suggested that compounds that give colorful fruits their rich hues, especially berries, promote health and might even prevent cancer. But for the first time, scientists have exposed extracts from numerous berries high in those pigments to human saliva to see just what kinds of health-promoting substances are likely to survive and be produced in the mouth.

Research suggests that compounds that give colorful fruits their rich hues, especially berries, promote health and might even prevent cancer. For the first time, scientists have exposed extracts from berries that are high in those pigments to human saliva to see which types of substances are likely to survive and be produced in the mouth.

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Researchers have discovered that two families of these pigments, called anthocyanins, are more susceptible to degradation in the mouth than other pigments. A recent study at The Ohio State University showed that bacteria living in the mouth are responsible for most of the breakdown of these compounds that occurs in saliva. Researchers are investigating whether it's the berry pigments themselves or the products of their degradation that actually promote health.

Scientists believe these early findings will lead to further development of confectionaries, gums, and other delivery devices for the prevention and possibly treatment of conditions such as periodontal disease and oral cancers.

Read the original article from ScienceDaily.

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