Antioxidants found in wine, such as polyphenols, have long been associated as powerful aides for your health. But a new study released by scientists in Spain suggests a surprising new benefit. Wine, it seems, may prevent tooth and gum decay.
The study, published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry by researchers working at the Spanish National Research Council in Madrid, found that antioxidants in red wine prevented plaque-causing bacteria from sticking to gum tissue. The effect was even more enhanced when the antioxidants were combined with an oral probiotic—Streptococcus dentisani, which inhibits the growth of plaque.
The researchers used model gum tissue grown from human cells for the study and applied the wine antioxidants in various combinations. They separated the tissue into several groups, treating one group with polyphenols (caffeic and p-coumaric acids) only, one with polyphenols and the probiotic, and one treated with "commercially available grapeseed and red wine extracts" (Vitaflavan and Provinols). The wine antioxidants proved quite effective at inhibiting bacterial adhesion to the gum cells, but a combination of the polyphenols and the probiotic offered the most effective results.
The researchers suggest there could be some interesting methods for delivering the antiseptic power of the antioxidants, such as mouthwashes, toothpastes and chewing gum. But before you go reaching for a glass of wine to gargle with, until additional research undergoes human trials under real world conditions, Colgate Cabernet will have to wait.