Good news for red wine lovers: new research suggests that a specific compound called polyphenols, may help fend of harmful bacteria in the mouth.
Researchers compared the effects of two polyphenols from red wine against grape seed and red wine extract supplements on bacteria that stick to teeth and gums and cause dental plaque, cavities and gum disease.
They found the wine polyphenols and extracts all reduced the bacteria’s ability to stick to the cells, but the polyphenols – caffeic and p-coumaric acids – were more effective.
When combined with the Streptococcus dentisani – believed to be an oral probiotic, which stimulates the growth of good bacteria – the polyphenols were even better at inhibiting the pathogenic bacteria.
But while this may help create new dental treatments, it is not (sadly) an excuse to drink more red wine – and it certainly doesn’t mean we should advise our patients to do so either. Of course, one of the biggest drawbacks to red wine is the effects it can have on the appearance of our teeth. The tannins that are commonly found in red wine will stain tooth enamel, leading to discolouration. The consumption of alcohol is also thought to increase the risk of gum disease – so, as always, advise moderation.
Nevertheless, new research that reveals helpful science is always welcome and it is hoped that this knowledge may be put to good use in the future. So, for now, let’s drink (just a small one) to the news!