Research shows that some of the compounds found in raisins may fight off harmful bacteria in the mouth.
The link between nutrition and oral health has long been established, and studies often reveal some unexpected benefits from some of our favourite foods. If you enjoy snacking on raisins, you may be interested to know that the humble snack could be good for your oral health. According to researchers at the University of Illinois’ College of Dentistry, some of the compounds found in the sweet treat fight the bacteria that is often responsible for causing issues like gum disease and tooth decay.
What did the study find?
According to the study, raisins contain phytochemicals that actually suppress the growth of certain oral bacteria. The compounds identified in seedless raisins include oleanolic acid, oleanolic aldehyde, botulin, betulinic acid, and 5-(hydroxymethyl)-2-furfural, all of which are known antioxidants found in plants. Of these compounds, oleanolic acid was the phytochemical that hindered the growth of certain oral bacteria. The compound impeded the growth of the bacteria known as Streptococcus mutans, which is responsible for tooth decay and cavities; as well as Porphyromonas gingivalis, which is the bacteria that causes periodontal disease.
What do the findings mean?
Although raisins are not always considered a healthy snack when it comes to oral health because of the fact that they are so sweet, the researchers suggested that the compounds in them could, in fact, be good for our teeth. The phytochemicals in the snack could actually help to fight off harmful bacteria and prevent gum disease and cavities. While raisins are certainly sweet in flavour and sticky in texture, added sugar (known as sucrose) in foods is actually more likely to cause tooth decay. As with all foods, however, it is best to enjoy raisins in moderation as part of a balanced diet.
How to enjoy raisins
If you would like to incorporate raisins into your diet, there are many ways you can enjoy the fruit. Add them to a salad, or use them as a sweet topping in your cereal or yoghurt in the morning. They also make a great alternative to processed sugary snacks like chocolate and other sweets, which are common culprits when it comes to tooth decay and cavities.
What other foods are good for my teeth?
A healthy, balanced diet packed with nutrients is essential for both your oral health and your overall health. Dairy products like cheese and yoghurt are great additions to any eating plan because they are full of calcium and protein. Plus, cheese actually helps to raise the pH levels in the mouth, lowering the risk of tooth decay.
Leafy green vegetables like spinach and kale are also good for your oral health because they contain calcium, as well as plenty of vitamins and minerals. Crunchy produce like carrots, apples and celery help to promote the production of saliva in the mouth, which keeps the teeth clean, plus their fibrous texture scrapes food particles and bacteria off the surface of the teeth.
Besides sticking to a healthy diet for the sake of your oral health, we highly recommend that you come in and see us for regular dental visits. In fact, having dental check-ups often is one of the best ways to benefit and maintain your oral health in the long term.
At Lara Dental we offer a range of services to help you prevent tooth decay and gum disease, and our team is happy to answer any questions you have about your oral health. To arrange a consultation, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.
For more news and interesting articles concerning oral health, please keep an eye on our blog.