Saturday, October 17, 2009


HILO, Hawaii (UPI) -- A healthy alternative to sugary snacks -- raisins -- may actually prevent tooth damage, U.S. researchers say.

In addition to the polyphenols, flavonoids and iron in raisins, U.S. researchers also found germ-fighters that may suppress tooth disease.

One of the many antimicrobial phytochemicals found in raisins -- oleanolic acid -- has been shown to suppress the tooth disease-causing Streptococcus mutans biofilm.

Grape seed extract, high in proanthocyanidins, has been found to positively affect the in vitro demineralization and/or remineralization processes of damaged tooth root and may have the potential of being natural agent for non-invasive root caries -- cavities -- therapy, the researchers said.

The researchers hypothesized that raisins contain antimicrobial phytochemicals capable of suppressing oral pathogens associated with caries or periodontal diseases and thus benefit oral health.

The findings are described in a special supplement on grapes and health published in the Journal of Nutrition.

Copyright 2009 by United Press International

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