Blueberries taste great in cereal, as a topping on frozen yogurt or pancakes, in fruit salads and more. But what’s even better about blueberries is they contain significant amounts of flavonoids and act as an antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and anti-proteinase—all of which support healthy gums.
A new study out of Quebec City investigated the effect of a polyphenol-rich lowbush blueberry (Vaccinium angustifolium Ait.) extract on the two main etiologic components of periodontitis, a multifactorial disorder affecting the supporting structures of the teeth (J Agric Food Chem. 2015;63(31):6999–7008).
Phenolic acids, flavonoids and procyanidins made up 16.6, 12.9 and 2.7 percent of the blueberry extract, respectively. The blueberry extract showed antibacterial activity against the periodontopathogenic bacterium Fusobacterium nucleatum, which is the main species of bacteria associated with periodontitis. This property may result from the ability of blueberry polyphenols to chelate iron. Moreover, the blueberry extract at 62.5 ug/mL inhibited F. nucleatum biofilm formation by 87.5 percent. The blueberry extract dose-dependently inhibited the activation of NF-kB—a signaling pathway that plays a key role in a wide range of pathological processes such as inflammatory diseases—induced by F. nucleatum. In addition, a pretreatment of macrophages with the blueberry extract (62.5 ug/mL) inhibited the secretion of several other inflammatory markets. The researchers concluded, “This dual antibacterial and anti-inflammatory action of lowbush blueberry polyphenols suggests that they may be promising candidates for novel therapeutic agents."