You're probably very aware of the dangers of overusing antibiotics. The more we use antibiotics, the more opportunities we give bacteria to become resistant to them. Plus, antibiotics, especially the newer ones, have some serious side effects and can also wipe out the beneficial bacteria colonizing our guts. This forces us to start from scratch and repopulate them before harmful bacteria can take over and create a whole new set of problems.
Of course, there are many times when taking an antibiotic is necessary — they're still powerful infection fighters. But an even better concept than taking an antibiotic is to avoid getting an infection in the first place. For example, one common type of preventable infection can occur in the gums, when plaque accumulates to the point that gums become inflamed and infected. When the gums get to this point, a condition called periodontitis, antibiotics are often necessary to get the situation under control. The key, therefore, is to avoid getting to this point.
Fortunately, new research may reveal a way to do this. Rather than utilizing conventional antibiotics, researchers looked to natural anti-bacterial sources to see if any of them could help treat gum disease. They found a winner in blueberries, which they identified as a contender thanks to their ability to fight food-borne pathogens.
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The researchers pitted blueberry extract against one of the main bacteria species responsible for periodontitis. They found that the extract not only prevented the bacteria from growing, it also inhibited the bacteria's ability to form the biofilms that accumulate on teeth and then infiltrate the gum line. Moreover, the extract also blocked inflammation.
The researchers are currently working on a way to deliver blueberry extract directly to the gums after cleaning to help treat existing disease. But this is definitely a situation in which an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. In addition to maintaining good oral hygiene habits (brushing, flossing, seeing your dentist regularly for cleanings), you can protect your gums with blueberry extract before the bacteria take over.
You can buy blueberry extract online. And needless to say you can also get it at the grocery store.
Yours for better health,
Frank Shallenberger, MD