Red wine could protect your oral health

Red wine stains the teeth, and excessive consumption can have severe negative effects on your health; however, a new study says that a glass now and again might protect your oral health.

Researchers have found that some of red wine’s components may protect against the formation of cavities and against gum disease. The study was led by M. Victoria Moreno-Arribas and colleagues from Instituto de Investigación en Ciencias de la Alimentación in Madrid, and the Department of Health and Genomics at the Center for Advanced Research in Public Health in Valencia.

Many of red wine’s health benefits come from polyphenols, which are a series of micronutrients with antioxidant properties. Moreno-Arribas and colleagues hypothesized that polyphenols found in red wine and grapes could have a protective effect in the mouth, fending off harmful oral bacteria that cause cavities and gum disease.

In the study, the scientists first compared the effect of two types of polyphenol typically found in red wine (caffeic acid and p-coumaric acid), as well as that of red wine and grape seed extracts (Provinols and Vitaflavan) on harmful oral bacteria. They found that the two red wine polyphenols were the most effective at repelling the harmful oral bacteria and preventing them from attaching to healthy tissue.

They also tested a mix of caffeic acid, p-coumaric acid, and Streptococcus dentisani, which is an oral probiotic which may help to prevent tooth decay. This experiment found that the protective effect of the two polyphenols was enhanced by the presence of the probiotic.

Finally, the analysis of phenolic metabolites, which are substances formed as the polyphenols start transforming in the mouth, suggested that these small products may in fact be the “active ingredient” associated with the polyphenols’ protective effect.

Despite the results, experts have warned that research doesn’t support drinking more wine.

Professor Naveed Sattar, professor of metabolic medicine at the University of Glasgow, who wasn’t involved in the study, told the Mirror: “There is no good evidence that drinking wine per se is overall good for health – on the contrary, more and more evidence from other sources now suggests the less wine or alcoholic drinks, the lower the risks of range of disease and the lower the mortality risks.”

“People should not be fooled into thinking wine is good or health giving, however much they would like to hear such a message,” he stated.