Could Drinking Red Wine Be Good for Teeth Protection?

Updated on October 26th, 2020
Teeth Protection and Red Wine

Red wine stains the teeth, and too much consumption can have severe adverse effects on your health; however, a new study says that glass now and again can shield your oral health.

Scientists have found that some red wine’s components may protect against gum disease and cavities formation. The research was headed by M. Victoria Moreno-Arribas and associates from the Center for Advanced Research in Public Health’s  Department of Health and Genomics in Valencia and CIAL  in Spain (Madrid) [2].

Teeth Protection and Red Wine

Here’s how red wine could protect your oral health.

The Discovery

Moreno-Arribas’ team discovered that the wine polyphenols, when isolated, worked better than the wine extracts at minimizing the bacteria’s ability to stick to cells. When they added the probiotic Streptococcus dentisani, which is known to be an oral probiotic, the polyphenols worked better at fending off dangerous bacteria.

When the polyphenols are ingested, digestion starts, and that could also explain some of the positive effects, they said [3].

What’s Red Wine and How Is It Prepared?

Red wine is prepared by crushing and fermenting dark-colored, whole grapes. There are multiple types of red wine, which vary in color and taste. Common varieties include Merlot, Shiraz,  Pinot noir, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Zinfandel. The alcohol content generally ranges from 12–15%.

Taking moderate quantities of red wine has been shown to have health benefits. This is primarily due to its high content of powerful antioxidants. The wine’s alcohol is also believed to contribute some of the benefits of moderate wine consumption [4].

[Read: Health Benefits of Red Wine]

What are polyphenols?

Polyphenols are a category of compounds naturally present in plant foods, such as vegetables, fruits,  spices, herbs, tea, wine, and dark chocolate.

They can function as antioxidants, meaning they can neutralize dangerous free radicals that would otherwise damage your cells and increase your threat of conditions like cancer, diabetes, and cardiac disease.

Polyphenols are also known to reduce inflammation, which is believed to be the root cause of several chronic illnesses.

[Read: Foods Rich in Polyphenols]

Types of polyphenols

More than 8,000 kinds of polyphenols have been identified. They can be further classified into four major groups:

1. Flavonoids

These account for around sixty percent of all polyphenols. Examples include kaempferol, quercetin, anthocyanins, and catechins,  which are found in foods like onions, apples, red cabbage, and dark chocolate.

2. Phenolic acids

This group accounts for around thirty percent of all polyphenols. Examples include lignans and stilbenes, mostly present in vegetables, fruits, seeds, and whole grains.

3. Polyphenolic amides 

This category includes avenanthramides in oats and capsaicinoids in chili peppers.

4. Other polyphenols

This group includes ellagic acid in berries, resveratrol in red wine,  lignans in flax seeds and curcumin in turmeric, and whole grains and sesame seeds.

The type and amount of polyphenols in foods depend on the food, including its ripeness, origin,  and how it was transported, farmed,  stored, and prepared.

Polyphenol-containing supplements are available as well. However, they’re likely to be less beneficial than polyphenol-rich foods.

[Also Read: Natural Remedies for Sensitive Teeth]

What do the results mean for us?

Testing it on humans or animals would be necessary to draw further conclusions. The polyphenols inhibit the bad bacteria’s adherence from forming the biofilms (which are naturally infectious) on teeth and gums (possibly by modifying the harmful bacteria to be a less ‘sticky or physically blocking attachment.

This causes bad bacteria to be swept away.

What happens in the mouth

In the new study, the scientists initially compared the effect of 2 types of polyphenol typically found in red wine (p-coumaric acid and caffeic acid) as well as that of grape seed extracts and red wine (Vitaflavan and Provinols) on three harmful oral bacteria: Fusobacterium nucleatum, Streptococcus mutans, and Porphyromonas gingivalis.

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They found that experimenting with a laboratory model of gum tissue — was that the 2 red wine polyphenols p-coumaric acid and caffeic acid were most effective at repelling the dangerous oral bacteria and averting them from adhering to healthy tissue.

Next, they tested a mix of p-coumaric acid, caffeic acid, and Streptococcus dentisani, an oral probiotic that, as a recent study has indicated, may help prevent tooth decay.

This research was even more successful, as the probiotic presence improved the two polyphenols’ protective effects.

Lastly, the analysis of phenolic metabolites, which are substances formed as the polyphenols begin transforming in the mouth, indicated that these small products might, in fact, be the “active ingredient” related with the polyphenols’ protective effect.

So go ahead — pour yourself a glass of red wine now, safe in the belief that this drink, at least, won’t cause you any oral suffering. Of course, don’t overindulge it; red wine is an alcoholic drink, after all, and excessive alcohol isn’t anyone’s buddy.

Using a little wine glass, though, could help you curb your appetite a bit so that you can delight your palate — and gums and teeth — with some polyphenols, while still keeping your gray matter quite safe.

[Also Read: Best Vitamins for Teeth & Gums]

Bottom Line

Moreno-Arribas said that the evidence suggests that phenolic compounds and oral probiotics could be a feasible strategy to handle oral diseases derived by microbial factors. She recommended more research in this area on living organisms to further the research.

That’s what Blumberg would like to see to understand the findings further. “A real dynamic mouth is very much different from static cells in a petri dish,” he noted.

The ADA (American Dental Association) lists wine as a beverage known to stain teeth. Other studies have found the wine to have protective properties against diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and neurodegenerative disorders, while also boosting gut health.

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