Drinking wine is good for your colon and heart, probably because the beverage contains rich and diverse polyphenols. Researchers now report in ACS’s Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry that wine polyphenols may be beneficial to your oral health.
Traditionally, some of the health benefits of polyphenols have been attributed to the fact that these compounds are antioxidants, which means that they may protect the body from free radical damage. However, recent studies have shown that polyphenols may also promote health by making positive interactions with bacteria in the gut. This makes sense because plants and fruits produce polyphenols to protect against harmful bacteria and other pathogens. M. Victoria Moreno-Arribas and colleagues wanted to know whether wine and grape polyphenols also protect teeth and gums, and how they work at the molecular level.
The researchers examined the effects of two red wine polyphenols and commercially available grape seed and red wine extracts on bacteria sticking to teeth and gums and caused plaque, tooth decay and periodontal disease. Working with cells that mimic gingival tissue, they found that the two isolated wine polyphenols – caffeic acid and p-coumaric acid – generally have the ability to reduce bacterial adhesion to cells better than total wine extracts. When combined with Streptococcus dentisani, which is considered an oral probiotic, polyphenols are even better at resisting pathogenic bacteria. The researchers also stated that the formation of metabolites in the mouth when digesting polyphenols may be one of the causes of these effects.