In severe cases, periodontal disease can lead to a course of antibiotic treatment to fight the disease. New research has now suggested that a treatment using wild blueberry extract can prevent the formation of the plaque which leads to gum disease, reducing the prevalence of the disease and the need for these antibiotics.
Publishing in ACS’ Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, the team from Université Laval in Canada sought to see if blueberry polyphenols, which work against foodborne pathogens, could also help fight Fusobacterium nucleatum, one of the main species of bacteria associated with periodontitis.
In the lab, the researchers tested extracts from the wild lowbush blueberry, Vaccinium angustifolium Ait., against F. nucleatum. The polyphenol-rich extracts successfully inhibited the growth of F. nucleatum, as well as its ability to form biofilms. It also blocked a molecular pathway involved in inflammation, a key part of gum disease.
The researchers say they’re developing an oral device that could slowly release the extract after deep cleaning to help treat periodontitis. They concluded: “This dual antibacterial and anti-inflammatory action of lowbush blueberry polyphenols suggests that they may be promising candidates for novel therapeutic agents.”