Whole grapes provide a heck of an array of nutrients and medicinal compounds. One of these – grape pomace – helps prevent the bacteria that form cavities from sticking to our teeth and gums.
This of course flies in the face of so many pundits that would have us believe that fruits are bad for us. Some say that fruits are bad for our blood sugar levels and cause diabetes. This has been proven wrong. In fact, it is quite the opposite. Fresh fruit actually protects against diabetes according to research. Others have professed that fruits encourage tooth decay. Now we can say that this is not true according to the research.
Pomace from whole grapes tested
Japanese researchers have discovered that wild grape pomace – the pulp, seeds and skin of the grape left after juicing – inhibits the bacteria known for causing dental caries, Streptococcus mutans.
The laboratory research, led by the Iwate Biotechnology Research Center in Kitakami, tested the Vitis coignetiae grape variety using assays together with different fractions and types of grapes. They found that the chemistry of the pomace prevented the S. mutans from forming the biofilm that enables the bacteria to attach to teeth.
This biofilm, called hydrooxyapatite, utilizes sucrose for its production – which explains why eating sugar is linked to dental caries – or cavities. The S. mutans bacteria produces this, enabling it to adhere to the surface of the tooth. Here the bacteria releases acids that eat away at tooth enamel.
Pomace prevents bacteria adherence
The grape pomace stopped the process of the glucosyltransferases S. mutans uses to produce the biofilm allowing the bacteria to adhere to the teeth. The researchers found that greater amounts of pomace increasingly prevented bacteria adherence, in a “dose-dependent” manner.
The researchers concluded that, “The current study supports the potential of Vitis coignetiae pomace as a food additive for reducing caries by inhibiting adhesion to the tooth surface and glucosyltransferase-mediated soluble glucan synthesis.”
The pomace of grapes contain numerous polyphenols that have been found to be antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant. Studies have found that whole grapes boost the immune system. Grapes also strengthen memory, help prevent cardiovascular disease and other effects.
This is the nature of whole foods. Because plants produce many biochemicals to help protect the plant against intruders, those biochemicals also help protect our bodies from microorganisms as well as free radicals.
Learn more ways to prevent cavities by stopping bacteria like S. mutans:
Yano A, Kikuchi S, Takahashi T, Kohama K, Yoshida Y. Inhibitory effects of the phenolic fraction from the pomace of Vitis coignetiae on biofilm formation by Streptococcus mutans. Arch Oral Biol. 2012 Jan 25.
Case Adams is a California Naturopath and a Board Certified Alternative Medicine Practitioner with a PhD in Natural Health Sciences, and diplomas in Homeopathy, Aromatherapy, Bach Flower Remedies, Blood Chemistry, Clinical Nutritional Counseling and Colon Hydrotherapy. He has authored 26 books on natural healing strategies.