"Researchers compared the effects of two polyphenols from red wine against grape seed and red wine extract supplements on bacteria that stick to teeth and gums and cause dental plaque, cavities and gum disease", the BBC reports. What's more, these polyphenols were even better at fighting the harmful mouth bacteria when combined with Streptococcus dentisani, an oral probiotic.
Previous studies have suggested that the health benefits of polyphenols are linked to them being antioxidants that protect the body from harmful free radicals. Working with cells that model gum tissue, they found that the two wine polyphenols in isolation - caffeic and p-coumaric acids - were generally better than the total wine extracts at cutting back on the bacteria's ability to stick to the cells. Polyphenols are found in many types of foods, including cherries, berries and grapes-and therefore, wine. Now, researchers have identified the antioxidants that make the beverage such a big hit on the health scale, can also help with oral hygiene. A new study adds to that list with evidence that it may help prevent gum disease.
And, if you're not a fan of wine, polyphenols is also found in an array of other delicious foods and drinks. The authors of the study noted the research was limited by the fact that it was conducted in a lab setting and not in the human mouth.
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"The findings suggest some compounds called phenols should be investigated further for their roles in preventing bacteria binding to cells and causing infection but this needs much validation". The metabolites formed when digestion of the polyphenols begins in the mouth might be responsible for some of these effects, the researchers said.
The British Dental Association's scientific adviser, Professor Damien Walmsley, noted that wine was acidic and if consumed frequently, could damage the enamel of teeth. Red wine, in particular, is abundant in polyphenols, which is why people often choose these varieties for health purposes.