Does Red Wine Really Improve Your Oral Health?
If you’re a red wine drinker, you may already know about the health benefits of having a glass of wine daily. However, new research has found yet another piece of evidence why you should keep on enjoying wine! These recent studies now reveal that red wine may be just as important to your dental health and wellness as flossing, brushing and regular teeth cleaning.
Summary of the research:
Researchers from seven different universities and public health departments in Spain found that red wine (as well as coffee, tea, cider, raspberries, blueberries and cranberries) can be good for your oral health and wellness. The antioxidants in these foods (i.e. grape seeds, stems) contain micro nutrient compounds called polyphenols that can fend off harmful bacteria in your teeth and gums, mitigating the risk of tooth decay and gum disease as well as prevent and/or reduce the risk of diabetes, cancer, certain neurological diseases and cardiovascular degeneration.
What did the research reveal?
The study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, looked to see if there were any effects on bacteria that stick to teeth and gums when consuming red wine polyphenols, grape seeds and red wine extracts. Working with cells that replicated gum tissue, the scientists were able to identify that two wine polyphenols (caffeic and p-coumaric acids), acted as key cells in reducing the chances of bacteria sticking to the teeth.
How do polyphenols reduce the risk of tooth decay and gum disease?
Every day, millions of bacteria (that lead to plaque and tarter build up as well as cavities) grow on the surface of your teeth and gums. The studies found that the compounds in red wines, coffee and berries are able to prevent bacteria from sticking to gums (and are even more effective when coupled with an oral probiotic) as these compounds are like shields, and block the molecules formed by the bacteria. As the research is still in its stages of infancy, it is best to not over indulge in drinking wine quite yet as the research that was conducted was only done on simulated gums (not real teeth) and the authors acknowledge that further research needs to be conducted on what actually prevents the bacteria from sticking (as opposed to just blocking the bacteria).
Caveat: While red wine and these foods are proven to help prevent bacteria, it’s best to consume these foods and beverages in moderation as they heavily stain your teeth and in some cases can increase your chances of oral cancer and gum disease. It is important to keep up with your oral regimen of brushing, flossing and seeing your dentist for regular checkups.
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