Potential Oral Health Benefits of Cranberry
In the past decade, cranberry extracts have been attracting ever-growing attention by dental researchers. The potential benefits of cranberry components in reducing oral diseases, including dental caries and periodontitis, are discussed in this review. A non-dialysable cranberry fraction enriched in high molecular weight polyphenols has very promising properties with respect to cariogenic and periodontopathogenic bacteria, as well as to the host inflammatory response and enzymes that degrade the extracellular matrix. Cranberry components are potential anti-caries agents since they inhibit acid production, attachment, and biofilm formation by Streptococcus mutans. Glucan-binding proteins, extracellular enzymes, carbohydrate production, and bacterial hydrophobicity, are all affected by cranberry components. Regarding periodontal diseases, the same cranberry fraction inhibits host inflammatory responses, production, and activity of enzymes that cause the destruction of the extracellular matrix, biofilm formation, and adherence of Porphyromonas gingivalis, and proteolytic activities and coaggregation of periodontopathogens. The above-listed effects suggest that cranberry components, especially those with high molecular weight, could serve as bioactive molecules for the prevention and/or treatment of oral diseases.