You may have heard of wine being good for your heart health. Now researchers report that red wine polyphenols may also be good for your oral health.
Red wine and polyphenols
Red wine contains polyphenols, naturally containing compounds that protect the body from harm caused by free radicals, and defend against damage by pathogens (bacteria, viruses, disease-causing microbes). In red wine, polyphenols may contribute to the bitterness, astringency, colour, flavour, and odour.
It is well established that polyphenol-rich foods and beverages increase antioxidant levels in the body and have positive impacts in heart health, diabetes, cancer, and Alzheimer’s disease.
Our mouths have a variety and abundance of bacteria, with more than 700 species, mostly found in dental plaque. Poor oral hygiene or dietary habits, can change types of bacteria, altering the natural balance between good and bad microbes. This imbalance could be translated into an overgrowth of bad bacteria and development of oral diseases – cavities, tooth decay, periodontitis and gingivitis.
The link between wine and oral health
A recent study found that the effect of two red wine polyphenols, caffeic and p-coumaric acids, were generally better at cutting back on bacteria’s ability to stick to cells. The researchers showed that digestion of the polyphenols begins in the mouth, and might be responsible for some of these effects, versus just digestion in the gut.
The main ways polyphenols protect against oral microbial diseases include anti-adhesive, anti-microbial, or anti-inflammatory activity as well as stopping bad bacterial growth. A key step in bacterial infection is bacteria sticking to host cells, and an anti-adhesion therapy is an efficient way to prevent or treat bacterial infections.
Should you drink red wine? If yes, how much?
If you like drinking red wine, moderate intake of red wine is defined as 1-2 glasses per day. It is also recommended that you have at least 1-2 days a week without alcohol. Keep in mind that this refers to total alcohol intake. Drinking this amount of red wine in addition to other alcoholic beverages could easily put you in the range of excessive consumption.
An excessive intake of alcoholic beverages may cause alcohol dependence, liver cirrhosis and weight gain. It may also increase the risk of depression, disease and premature death.