Bioactive molecules in berries may be helpful in reducing the risk of oral diseases. The aim of this study was to determine the effect of bilberry consumption on the outcome of a routine dental clinical parameter of inflammation, bleeding on probing (BOP), as well as the impact on selected biomarkers of inflammation, such as cytokines, in gingival crevicular fluid (GCF) in individuals with gingivitis. Study individuals who did not receive standard of care treatment were allocated to either a placebo group or to groups that consumed either 250 or 500 g bilberries daily over seven days. The placebo group consumed an inactive product (starch). A study group, receiving standard of care (debridement only) was also included to provide a reference to standard of care treatment outcome. Cytokine levels were assayed using the Luminex MagPix system. The mean reduction in BOP before and after consumption of test product over 1 week was 41% and 59% in the groups that consumed either 250 or 500 g of bilberries/day respectively, and was 31% in the placebo group, and 58% in the standard of care reference group. The analysis only showed a significant reduction in cytokine levels in the group that consumed 500 g of bilberries/day. A statistically significant reduction was observed for IL-1b (p=0.025), IL-6 (p=0.012) and VEGF (p=0.017) in GCF samples in the group that consumed 500 g of bilberries daily. It appears that berry intake has an ameliorating effect on some markers of gingival inflammation reducing gingivitis to a similar extent compared to standard of care.
Keywords: bleeding; clinical study; cytokines; gingival crevicular fluid; human.