Australian children consume sugary drinks (juice included) and foods on an epic scale – swamping almost all oral health interventions from parents, dentists and educators. As a result, a high proportion of our kids are experiencing alarmingly high rates of tooth decay and cavities.
However, not all soft drinks are bad for your teeth.
Take cranberry juice for example. In a recent study published in July 2021 by University of Illinois USA, researchers discovered that cranberry juice products could suppress “bad” oral bacteria and reduce plaque growth – even those with added sugar!
Cranberry juice contains antimicrobial plant polyphenols
The reason why cranberry juice and similar beverages can support your oral health is because they are high in antimicrobial plant polyphenols. Other beverages high in these polyphenols include black, green, cinnamon or raspberry flavoured teas.
Antimicrobial plant polyphenols make teeth too slippery for plaque
Antimicrobial plant polyphenols are beneficial for your oral health because they make your tooth surfaces too “slippery” for bacterial plaque biofilms to stick onto.
Even when these polyphenol rich beverages contained added “sticky” sugar, any plaque that developed did not adhere to the tooth surfaces very firmly. In fact, they simply dislodged from tooth surfaces via saliva or light oral hygiene.
The U.S. study results showed that drinking polyphenol rich beverages such as cranberry juice could inhibit plaque formation by up to 97% in kids over other sweet beverages. And when consumption is sequenced right – between eating meals and performing oral care – the potential synergistic oral health benefits of all three were exceptional.
Wu, C., Huang, E., Li, W., White, M., Jung, S. and Xie, Q., 2021. Beverages Containing Plant-Derived Polyphenols Inhibit Growth and Biofilm Formation of Streptococcus mutans and Children’s Supragingival Plaque Bacteria. Beverages, 7(3), p.43.
Read the more of the study here: