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Red Wine Is Shown to Protect Your Teeth and Gums

Egger, Kenneth DDS

Lots of people enjoy a glass or red wine with dinner. Well, maybe when making dinner and maybe when doing the dishes, too. It’s true; the nuances of flavor in red wine seem to elevate the level of any dinner you add it to. OK, maybe not mac & cheese…

Anyway, there have been lots of research studies that have shown red wine has beneficial effects on human health. It’s been shown to help prevent heart disease and to even keep the brain from aging as quickly, among other benefits

But in the dental world, red wine has mostly been of interest for its staining effects, creating the need for professional teeth whitening treatments.

Hold on. A recent study from researches in Spain seems to show that red wine, while it may leave stains on your teeth, is actually improving your oral health.


The study

The research was conducted at the Instituto de Investigacion en Ciencias de la Alimentacion in Madrid and the Department of Health and Genomics at the Center for Advanced Research in Public Health in Valencia. The group’s findings

were published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.

Their research shows that components of red wine may protect against the formation of cavities and against gum disease. The research centered on polyphenols, a series of micronutrients with antioxidant properties, which are present in red wine. In the digestive system, polyphenols interact with gut microbiota and fend off some typical bad bacteria that could threaten human health. The researchers theorized that polyphenols found in red wine and grapes could have a similar protective effect in the mouth, fending off harmful bacteria that cause cavities and gum disease.


The study focused on two types of polyphenols typically found in red wine: caffeic acid and p-coumaric acid. It looked at the effect these had on three harmful oral bacteria.

Using a laboratory model of gum tissue, they found that the two red wine polyphenols were very effective at repelling the harmful oral bacteria, preventing them from attaching to healthy gum tissue.

Then they looked at tooth decay. They mixed an oral probiotic (Streptococcus dentisani) with the two polyphenols. The oral probiotic has been proven to help prevent tooth decay. When it was mixed with the two polyphenols the combination dramatically elevated the protective effect on tooth enamel.

So, there you go. While that glass of cab may be staining your teeth just a bit, this research says that it’s protecting your teeth and gums in the meantime. Well worth an occasional need for teeth whitening.

Is it time for your next cleaning and exam with Dr. Egger? Call us at (989) 773-3560 to schedule your appointment.