Red wine could help fight off dental cavities and tooth loss by slowing the growth of bacteria, a recent study has concluded.
A team of scientists from the Research Institute for Food Science in Madrid and the University of Zürich, led by M. Victoria Moreno-Arribas, found that red wine, along with grape seed extract, was effective at removing the bacteria which causes cavities and tooth loss, which currently affects up to 90% of the global population.
As reported by the American Chemical Society, damage is caused when bacteria in the mouth forms “biofilms”, a type of bacteria that is difficult to kill, which leads to plaque and the production of acid which then damages a tooth.
While brushing with a fluoride toothpaste and water can help reduce bacterial plaques, the effects are limited.
The study, believed to be first to look at the effects of wine on oral biofilms, saw scientists grow cultures of bacteria before dipping them in different liquids, including red wine, red wine without alcohol, red wine spiked with grape seed extract, and water and 12% ethanol for comparison.
Red wine, with or without alcohol, and wine with grape seed extract, were found to be the most effective at removing the bacteria, suggesting that polyphenols found in both substances can slow bacterial growth to prevent cavities.
The report read: “Microbiological analysis of the biofilms after the application of red wine, dealcoholized red wine, and red wine extract solutions spiked or not with grape seed and inactive dry yeast extracts showed that the solutions spiked with seed extract were effective against F. nucleatum, S. oralis and A. oris.
“Also, red wine and dealcoholized wine had an antimicrobial effect againstF. nucleatum and S. oralis.
“Additional experiments showed almost complete and early degradation of flavan-3-ol precursors [(+)-catechin and procyanidin B2] when incubating biofilms with the red wine extract.”
The team said their results could contribute to the development of natural products that ward off dental diseases with fewer side effects.
The results of the study were published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.
Red wine has previously been credited for protecting against everything from obesity to heart disease, due to its rich reserves of resveratrol – an antioxidant present in red grape skins.
Click here for a list of the most recent red wine health claims.