Over the last couple of decades, scientific researchers have put a great deal of effort into learning about the benefits of Italian red wine. What was seen as a purely alcoholic drink in years gone by now has a number of health benefits attributed to it. It’s practically a proven fact that a glass of red wine per day can lead to better heart health. The high antioxidant quantity in the wine means that it can combat some of the signs of ageing, lead to improved circulation, and lower the possibility of you suffering from a stroke.
Other health benefits are also less tightly linked to drinking red wine. There’s some evidence that drinking wine in moderation can lead to an improved libido. Moreover, some scientists believe that red wine may help to protect the human body from cancer. While such subjects perhaps need more research, they suggest that red wine is a valuable curative as much as it is a joy to drink.
That’s all well and good. But you’d naturally assume that red wine could be nothing but bad news for your teeth.
Why You Think Red Wine and Teeth Don’t Mix
Let’s get the obvious point out of the way. Red wine contains quite a lot of sugar.
Of course, this is a generalisation. Dry red wines contain far less sugar that sweeter red wines. Plus, the methods that the producer uses to create their wines will also have an effect on their sugar content.
But the fact remains that red wine contains sugars. Sure, they’re heathy sugars because they come from grapes. But they’re still sugars nonetheless.
And sugar can wreak havoc on your teeth. The plaque that naturally builds up on your teeth uses sugar to create an acid that directly attacks your teeth’s enamel. This enamel is essentially the protective layer that guards your teeth against everything that you bite into. Without it, your teeth will start to fall apart. That’s why you get cavities, tooth decay, and other problems. More often than not, you can trace such problems back to plaque and sugar enables plaque to be more effective when it’s attacking your teeth.
This weakening usually takes place over time. But if you eat a lot of sugary foods, or drink a lot of sugary drinks, you can cause weakening that can lead to a tooth snapping or chipping.
Moreover, red wine also has an acidic quality to it. Again, this does the same thing as the acid that plaque creates when it gets its hands on the sugars that you eat. The acid in red wines also chips away at your enamel, thus weakening your teeth.
That makes red wine seem like a double threat when it comes to tooth decay. You have to deal with acid from two sources, which means you should really take care of your dental hygiene of you’re a regular red wine drinker. Failure to do so could lead to issues for your teeth.
And that’s not even mentioning the cosmetic issue of the staining that can occur when you drink too much red wine. Thankfully, that staining tends to disappear once you’ve brushed your teeth a couple of times. But it’s still a physical indicator that the wine may not be the best choice for those who want healthy teeth.
At least, all of this is what we assume given what we know about red wine. And most of it is probably relevant. There’s no denying the sugar and acid contents of the drink. These will have a damaging effect on your teeth.
But did you know that red wine may also help to prevent the very issues that this sugar and acid can cause?
What Does the Research Say?
It all comes down to recently released research paper.
A study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry took a closer look at the polyphenols that are found in red wine.
For those who don’t know about the complexities of the compounds in wine, polyphenols are one of the antioxidants that provide wine with the heart healing qualities that we mentioned above. Traditionally, we haven’t looked at them for anything other than those antioxidant qualities. But now, researchers are telling us that the compound may also have positive effects on your teeth.
It all comes down to how the compounds react to the good bacteria in your body. Remember that not all bacteria is bad. Your body contains many thousands of bacterial strains that help you to process your food and serve all sorts of other important functions in the human body.
The paper examined how the polyphenol compounds help the good bacteria in your body to do its job properly. Moreover, it showed that the compound helps to prevent bad bacteria from sticking to your teeth.
In essence, it seems that red wine does as much to prevent damage to your teeth as it may do to cause it.
The Final Word
So, does this mean that you can trust in red wine to help you to maintain good dental hygiene?
The short answer is now. Experts have warned that people should not consider this advancement as a reason to drink more wine. They also point out that the study examined the compound, rather than red wine itself. The polyphenols were extracted from the wine before being tested, rather than consumed alongside the rest of the wine, including its sugars.
What it does tell us is that red wine may hold the key to new dental treatments that could help your teeth. Now that scientists know that polyphenols have a positive effect on your tooth and gum help, they’ll be able to look into the compound in more detail. This may lead to the creation of dental remedies that use polyphenols to prevent bacteria from sticking to your teeth.
Drinking more red wine is as likely to damage your teeth as it is to protect them. But it may not be long before we start to see toothpastes made using the polyphenols that come from red wine.