Just in case you were looking for another reason to enjoy a glass of red wine with dinner, researchers have found a pretty good one. While red wine is known to stain your teeth, it can also help prevent you from developing cavities in them.
It’s been known for a while that red wine is beneficial for heart health. Drinking a glass once in a while can lower your risk of heart disease and could also possibly raise your HDL or “good cholesterol.”
Now researchers have found red wine, and grape seed extract, could prevent cavities. It had been previously suggested that polyphenols, grape seed extract, and wine may slow the bacterial growth that can cause cavities, but the theory hadn’t been tested until recently.
A research team grew cultures of the bacteria responsible for dental diseases. They then dipped the cultures in various liquids, including red wine, red wine without the alcohol, and red wine spiked with grape seed extract. Of the liquids tested, they found red wine with or without the alcohol and wine with grape seed extract to be most effective at eliminating the bacteria.
The study, which appears in the American Chemical Society’s Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, comes as welcome news to those who tend to be reluctant about traditional oral hygiene beyond brushing and flossing. It also adds another reason why enjoying wine in moderation does more good than harm.
Traditional antimicrobial rinses, which are designed to help eliminate cavity-causing bacteria, can change the color of the gums and alter how things taste to you after use. These side-effects have the potential to turn people off from using the rinses.
Scientists who worked on the study hope their discoveries about red wine and its ability to help ward off cavity-causing bacteria could lead to the development of natural dental hygiene products. These products would likely not have the same unwanted side-effects as the antimicrobial rinses used today.
Of course, we’re not recommending you start gargling with red wine, just enjoy it in moderation—about one 4 ounce glass a day for women, and two glasses per day for men.