It is common knowledge that red wine is good for blood circulation and is reported to have a protective effect against certain types of cancer. A recent Spanish study has shown that red wine may even be good for our teeth!
Red wine and dental health: dental plaque
Dental plaque is the layer of bacteria covering our teeth. Usually, brushing our teeth removes dental plaque that can ultimately cause tooth decay or gum disease. As tooth decay affects over 60% of the world’s population, the issue is of great interest to research scientists.
Red wine and dental health: the effects of polyphenols
The Spanish study examined the effects of polyphenols contained in wine on dental plaque. There are already alcohol-based anti-microbial treatments but they can have side effects. Hence, the research team believes that polyphenols, the organic molecules contained in wine, are an interesting field of research.
The researchers conducted a number of tests on five different samples of bacteria naturally occurring in the mouth: they used red wine, wine-based alcohol, wine with grape pip extracts, and a solution containing 12% ethanol and water.
In the test using red wine with and without alcohol, the Spanish research team noted a significant drop in the amount of bacteria. The test showed that growth in bacteria was restricted by the polyphenols. The mixture of wine and grape pip extracts – which contain most of the polyphenols - was even more effective.
So what are the consequences for the relationship between wine and health? The study seems promising for the dental health industry though also for the wine industry. It begs the question: when will we see red wine appellation toothpaste?