That’s according to new research published in the Journal of Periodontal Research, which shows the antibacterial properties of blackberry extract could help to prevent or aid in the treatment of gum disease, which, if left untreated, may result in tooth loss.

Natural extract from blackberries have previously been linked with blocking the spread of cancer cells, and, when measured against blueberry, raspberry, red currant, and both cultivated and wild strawberries, blackberries showed the greatest total antioxidant capacity.

Blackberries join a growing list of foods that could help prevent oral health problems. Strawberries and green vegetables have been linked to reducing the chance of developing oral cancer, while other studies have discovered fish and fish oil can fight gum disease.

Chief Executive of the British Dental Health Foundation, Dr Nigel Carter OBE, thinks the research highlights the importance of indulging in a healthy, balanced diet.

Dr Carter says: “Having a balanced diet rich in vitamins, minerals and fresh produce to provide anti-oxidants is something we should all be striving to achieve. It can help to prevent a number of oral health problems including gum disease and oral cancer, not to mention potential heart problems too. Given we are only a few days into the new year, if you have not adopted a New Year’s resolution it is well worth considering improving your diet.

Blackberries by Leon Brocard

Blackberries by Leon Brocard

“Although the study is promising, it is important to remember that any use of blackberries in preventing and treating gum disease should be as well as maintaining a good oral hygiene routine. Prevention is a really important word when it comes to oral health and it is fairly easy to keep on top of. It does not take up too much time or a lot of money, yet it is surprising how many people actually forego basic oral hygiene principles, including brushing for two minutes twice a day.

“Gum disease and tooth decay are both totally preventable by following a simple daily routine. The earlier you learn this the better. Brushing your teeth two minutes twice a day using a fluoride toothpaste, visiting the dentist regularly, as often as they recommend, and cleaning in between teeth using interdental brushes or floss will really help to develop good oral health. Having a healthy, balanced diet with at least five portions of fresh fruit and vegetables a day and cutting down on how often you have sugary foods and drinks will benefit both the health of your mouth and body.”

Image by Leon Brocard (originally posted to Flickr as IXS_4161) [CC-BY-2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

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