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"An Apple a day keeps the doctor away."

There is a economic burden that is growing each day and a drastic change in the lifestyle has led to increase in morbidity. There has been an increasing interest in natural alternatives (fruits and vegetables) to combat and even, prevent disease.

Among  various fruits, Apples are one of the most popular fruits in the world having mythological and religious significance in  many cultures, including that of Norse, GreeK and European Christian.

At present, there are at least 7500 different varieties that vary in shape, color, texture, acidity, juiciness, sweetness, nutritional value etc. They are consumed in various forms, i.e. as fresh fruit, juice, wine, other processed foods etc.

India is the sixth largest producer and consumer of apples in the world. It has been regarded as a beneficial for people's health due to the poly phenol content, justifying old proverbs like "an apple a day keeps the doctor away" or "eat an apple on going to bed, and you will keep the doctor from earning his bread."

Phytochemicals like carotids, flavonoids, isoflavonoids and phenolic acids serve as the key protective elements in the fruits and vegetables. Apples ranked the second for total concentration of phenolic compounds, and perhaps more importantly, they have the highest portion of free phenolics when compared to other fruits.

This means that these compounds are not bound to other compounds in the fruits and phenolics may be more available for eventual absorption into the bloodstream. The phenolic content vary among different cultivators, within different tissues of the fruit, growing conditions, cultural practices, ripening during harvesting, post harvest storage conditions, and processing. Several research findings have shown that apple peel contains more antioxidants and antioxidant capacity than the pulp fraction or the whole.
Various studies have linked the consumption of apples with reduced risk of some cancers, cardiovascular disease, asthma and diabetes. Its strong antioxidant activity has led to inhibition of cancer cell proliferation, decrease lipid oxidation and lower cholesterol.

Association with Oral health
Apple has a two way mechanism in maintain oral health.
  • Its action on streptococcus mutans ( the main pathogen for dental caries and periodontal disease).
  • Antioxidant activity
Action on streptococcus mutans
The polyphenol content of apple has shown significant inhibitory effect on the adhesive property of streptococcus mutans onto the tooth surface by inhibiting the production of extracellular glucans from dietary sucrose through the action of glucosyl transferase(gtf) enzyme. This property of apple can significantly help in preventing plaque formation.

Antioxidant activity
Oxidative stress in the oral cavity has led to increase activity of oral cancer, dental caries and periodontal disease. Apple has a high antioxidant property and consumption of this fruit has shown increase in the total antioxidant property of the saliva thus causing a local rise of available antioxidants which can help in preventing various oral diseases.

To summarize, the benefits of apple on general health have been time tested and a proven fact. however, in the recent years, interests on its effect on oral health has led to an understanding that consumption of apple and apple products can prevent various chronic oral diseases like cancer, periodontal disease and dental caries as well as maintain oral health.

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