Red wine could ‘fight tooth cavities’

Posted May 29, 2014 by Tim Sandle
Want another reason to enjoy a glass of red wine? Try this: a new study has found that red wine could potentially help prevent dental cavities.
Wine poured into glasses
Wine poured into glasses
Essentially the research argues that red wine, and grape extracts, could lead to the development of natural products that ward off dental diseases with fewer side effects.
Cavities form when certain bacteria in the mouth form biofilms (slime-like communities of bacteria). The bacteria then form plaque and produce acid, which starts damaging teeth. Brushing, fluoride in toothpaste and water and other methods can help get rid of bacterial plaque. In addition, currently used antimicrobial rinses can change the color of the gums and alter taste, so people are less likely to use them for as long as they should.
New research suggests that polyphenols, grape seed extract and wine can slow bacterial growth. Scientists have examined this under experimental conditions. For this, researchers grew cultures of bacteria responsible for dental diseases as a biofilm. They dipped the biofilms for a couple of minutes in different liquids, including red wine, red wine without the alcohol, red wine spiked with grape seed extract, and water and 12 percent ethanol for comparison. Red wine with or without alcohol and wine with grape seed extract were the most effective at getting rid of the bacteria.
How this relates to conditions inside the mouth will require further study. Examining ways to address cavities is an important issue. Cavities, periodontal disease and tooth loss affect an estimated 60 to 90 percent of the global population.
The findings have been published in ACS' Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. The paper is titled “Red Wine and Oenological Extracts Display Antimicrobial Effects in an Oral Bacteria Biofilm Model.”