Beth Haagenson ’09
Cranberry juice as an adjunctive therapy for periodontal disease.
Periodontal disease is the inflammation of the tissue that surrounds and supports teeth. It can be classified into three groups, gingivitis, chronic periodontitis, and advanced periodontitis. Periodontal disease occurs when bacteria accumulate on the teeth along the gum line and create an inflammatory response, which can lead to loss of supporting tissue and bone structure and loss of teeth. The progression of periodontal disease occurs from an over expressed immune response to the lipopolysaccharides produced by the oral pathogens in the dental biofilm. Oral pathogens also produce proteases which are also partially responsible for the progression of tissue destruction in periodontal disease. Cranberry juice is used as a form of prevention and treatment for urinary tract infections. The high-molecular-weight compound in cranberry juice prevents the adhesion of bacteria to the epithelial tissue in the bladder. This mechanism has led to new research about the possibility of using cranberry juice for periodontal disease, to prevent the adhesion of oral pathogenic bacteria. High-molecular-weight compounds in cranberry juice also inhibit the inflammatory response which leads to the progression of periodontitis. More research is needed that uses cranberry juice, not just the concentrated high-molecular-compound, in the treatment of periodontal disease to determine if there are any benefits of using it as an adjunctive therapy for management of periodontal disease.
Beth Haagenson presenting her research at Scholarship and Creativity Day, April 22, 2009.
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Research Advisor: Jayne Byrne, MS, RDN