Is there anything more blissful than the sound of red wine glugging into the bottom of a wine glass? The first swig is cherished as a wealth of antioxidants enter the system and promote good cholesterol levels, whilst a second sip is equally enjoyable, promoting a healthy heart according to recent research. Now, thanks to a new study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry there is another health benefit in the make up of wine.
Teeth are non-shredding surfaces. This means that microorganisms adhere to them for long periods of time, forming biofilms and dental plaque. Bacteria like streptococci and lactobacilli are able to produce organic acids in high levels, following the fermentation of dietary sugars. These acids deprive the teeth of essential minerals on the surface and can lead to periodontal disease or tooth loss.
Although antimicrobial agents can be prescribed to control plaque and reduce oral biofilms, they can also reduce taste perception and cause discolouration of the gums. With scientists on the lookout for natural products that could be used to control biofilms, researchers studied polyphenols in tea, cranberries, wine and grapes.
The researchers used a biofilm model of dental plaque that integrates five species of bacteria associated with oral disease. They then investigated the potential for red wine to inhibit biofilm production. These biofilm cultures were placed in red wine; alcohol-free red wine, red wine with grape seed extract, water and 12% ethanol for a couple of minutes each.
The results identified that red wine, both with and without alcohol, was the most effective at combating the bacteria. At moderate concentration it helped inhibit the growth of some pathogenic species in an oral biofilm model.
Authors said: “These findings contribute to existing knowledge about the beneficial effects of red wine (one of the most important products of agriculture and food industries) on human health. Moreover, the promising results concerning grape seed extract, which showed the highest antimicrobial activity, uncover promising methods we could use toward a natural ingredient in the formulation of oral care products specifically indicated for the prevention of caries, due to its antimicrobial properties.”
Scientists believe the active ingredient was a group of compounds called proanthocyanidins, chemicals rich in antioxidants from the grape skins. The next movement will be to investigate whether the compounds can be extracted and used as a form of treatment on their own, as many wines contain sugars that are corrosive to teeth.
A glass of red wine daily could help to keep teeth healthy and reduce the need for fillings along the way, with proper dental hygiene such as flossing and brushing. Brushing your teeth before and after consuming wine is recommended in order to counter the build up of plaque. Eating hard cheeses whilst drinking wine, can act almost like a polish, closing micro pores in your teeth and making them slightly more stain resistant. Drink sparkling water to help rinse the purple off your teeth. This will help reduce the effect of immediate stains, like a mouthwash to be used before photos.
Do you have any tricks to eliminate red wine teeth stains?