Red wine may protect your teeth

Do you enjoy the occasional glass of red wine? If so, there’s yet another reason for raising your glass in a toast. Researchers have previously established that a glass of red wine a day may protect against cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, and neurodegenerative disorders. Now a group of Spanish scientists have learned that red wine may also protect your teeth against the bacteria that cause tooth cavities and gum disease.

The study, led by M. Victoria Moreno-Arribas at the Instituto de Investigación en Ciencias de la Alimentación in Madrid, examined the effects of two polyphenols on bacteria commonly found in the mouth. Particular attention was paid to bacteria that cause tooth cavities and gum disease.

Polyphenols is a type of molecule prevalent in red wine and also in various plants and fruits. The study used cells that model gum tissue to test the effects of two red wine polyphenols. The test results indicated that the polyphenols inhibited bacterial adhesion to the human fibroblasts by up to 40 percent.

The scientists also added an oral microbiome species that is thought to act as an oral probiotic. The ability to block bacterial adhesion was even more pronounced when the polyphenols were combined with the oral probiotic.

The researchers conclude that additional studies are needed to evaluate the potential of polyphenols as preventive therapies in the management of cariogenic and periodontal diseases, but note that the study represents a promising start.