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Red wine may prevent gum disease

woman smiling with a glass of red wine in hand


Our mouth is a playground for over 700 species of bacteria. Most of the oral bacteria are found in dental plaque which is a biofilm structure attached to hard and soft tissues.

The delicate balance of good and pathogenic bacteria can be easily tipped by environmental stimuli such as bad oral hygiene or change in dietary habits leading to an overgrowth of pathogenic bacteria.

This results in oral diseases such as cavities, decay of teeth and bone, gum disease – periodontitis and gingivitis and related inflammation, pain and bleeding.

Traditional therapies which are used to maintain oral health have some limitations and thus scientists are always looking for therapies originating from nature.

The therapeutic use of polyphenols in prevention and treatment of oral pathologies is widely gaining attention.

Polyphenols is a large class of chemical compounds found in plants and their fruits. The antioxidants effects of polyphenols are widely known especially in the promotion of cardiovascular health, protective effect in neurodegenerative disorders, and metabolic diseases prevention.

Red wine is a rich source of dietary polyphenols which possesses a unique combination of flavonoids and nonflavonoids in its phenolic structure.

As seen in previous studies, moderate consumption of red wine has shown protective effects on cardiovascular health, diabetes and neurodegenerative disorders. Red wine is also know to promote gut health and may have an effect on human microbiota.

Researchers wanted to know whether wine and grape polyphenols will also protect teeth and gums by warding off harmful bacteria and pathogens and how this could work on a molecular level.

The researchers investigated the effect of two red wine polyphenols including commercially available grape seed extract and red wine extract on bacteria that is found on teeth and gums which causes dental plaque, cavities and periodontal disease.

A key step in bacterial infection is pathogenic adhesion to host cells found on teeth and gums and an antiadhesion therapy is an efficient way to prevent or treat bacterial infections.

Working with cells that model gum disease, the researchers found that two wine polyphenols in isolation – caffeic and p-coumaric acids – were better than the total wine extracts at decreasing the bacteria’s ability of stick to the host cells.

When the polyphenols were combined with the Streptococcus dentisani, which is believed to be an oral probiotic, the polyphenols worked even better and presented a stronger antiadhesive effect.

The researchers also found that metabolites formed when digesting polyphenols begins in the mouth and may be responsible for these effects.

This study provides the initial approach needed to investigate the effects of red wine on oral health.

A moderate glass of red wine is perhaps needed to celebrate yet another beneficial effect of red wine on our heath, wellbeing and our oral health.

Source: Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry


Meena Azzollini

Meena is passionate about holistic wellbeing, alternative healing, health and personal power and uses words to craft engaging feature articles to convey her knowledge and passion. She is a freelance writer and content creator from Adelaide, Australia, who draws inspiration from family, travel and her love for books and reading.

A yoga practitioner and a strong believer in positive thinking, Meena is also a mum to a very active young boy. In her spare time, she loves to read and whip up delicious meals. She also loves the smell of freshly made coffee and can’t ever resist a cheesecake. And she gets tickled pink by anything funny!