Scientist: Red wine protects against tooth decay and gum disease

Does red wine protect against bacteria in the mouth?

Red wine consumption has been linked to a number of purported health benefits, from supporting the heart to reducing the risk of diabetes. Researchers have now found that red wine contains substances that can help fight tooth decay and gum disease.

The scientists found in their investigation that red wine can help ward off harmful bacteria in the mouth. The doctors published the results of their study in the journal "Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry".

What do polyphenols do?

Compounds in red wine, which are called polyphenols, help to ward off harmful bacteria in the mouth. Earlier studies had suggested that the health benefits of polyphenols are linked to their antioxidant properties, which protect the body from harmful free radicals. However, recent studies have shown that polyphenols can also improve health by working with healthy bacteria in our gut. In the current investigation, the scientists analyzed whether wine polyphenols are also good for oral health.

Polyphenols prevent bacteria from sticking to cells

The researchers compared the effects of two red wine polyphenols and grape seed and red wine extract supplements on bacteria that cling to teeth and gums, causing plaque, tooth decay, and gum disease. The polyphenols reduce the ability of the bacteria to adhere to the cells. In combination with the Streptococcus dentisani, which stimulates the growth of good bacteria, the polyphenols were even better able to inhibit the pathogenic bacteria.

What other fruits and drinks contain polyphenols?

Red wine is high in polyphenols, but they can also be found in a number of other drinks and foods. For example, coffee, green tea, black tea, and lemon juice contain polyphenols. Many fruits such as blueberries, raspberries, kiwis and cherries also contain polyphenols.

There were limitations in the study

The authors explain that their study is limited, however, by the fact that it was carried out outside the human body with cells that simulate gum tissue. More research is needed to learn more about what inhibits the bacteria, the doctors explain.

Metabolites responsible for the effect?

So-called metabolites form when the digestion of polyphenols in the mouth begins. According to the experts, these could be responsible for some of the effects in the study. However, the results of the study should in no way motivate people to drink more alcohol.

Wine can damage tooth enamel

The acidic nature of the wine can cause consumption of a large amount to damage tooth enamel. So until the benefits of this study have been clinically demonstrated, it is best to consume wine in moderation and with a meal to minimize the risk of tooth erosion, doctors say. (as)

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