You’ve heard it all before…
Italian red wine is great for your heart. It’s loaded with antioxidants and it does a great job of protecting the most valuable organ in your body, as long as you drink in moderation. If you’ve been reading our blog for a long time, you know that we’ve covered that particular topic in depth.
However, your heart isn’t the only part of your body that benefits from a nice glass of Italian wine.
Your mouth and your teeth can benefit too!
“What a second,” we hear you say. “I’ve dealt with staining on my teeth from Italian red wine before. How can you tell me that wine is good for my teeth when I’ve physically seen my teeth getting discoloured because of it?”
We’ll grant you that one!
Italian red wine can stain teeth if consumed in fairly large quantities. Of course, liberal use of toothpaste and regular brushing overcomes that problem. But even if it didn’t, there are a ton of benefits that go far beyond a little staining.
Don’t believe us?
In this article, we’re going to let science do the talking for us! These are the key benefits that drinking Italian red wine has for your teeth and mouth.
Benefit #1 – Killing Bacteria
Have you heard of polyphenols before?
We’ve spoken about them in previous posts. But if you need a bit of a refresher, polyphenols are a compound found in many plant-based foods and drinks that have the interesting power to destroy bacteria.
Of course, Italian wine is made using grapes…
Grapes are a plant…
So of course, polyphenols are found inside Italian red wine.
A 2018 study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry took a closer look at the effects that polyphenols have on bacteria. Researchers extracted two wine-based polyphenols and compared them against samples pulled from grapes and red wine supplements.
In all cases, they found that polyphenols reduced the ability of certain types of bacteria to adhere to your teeth.
Why is this important?
Cavities, plaque, and gum disease are all the result of harmful bacteria managing to gather and replicate in your mouth. With polyphenols, you prevent this bacteria from sticking around where it isn’t wanted, which means it has no way to go but down into the stomach. And once it’s there, it gets overcome by the good bacteria in your gut, assuming you’re sticking to a healthy diet. And of course, the polyphenols have their “anti-sticking” effect in all areas of the body, which basically means that bad bacteria can never quite get the foothold it needs to start replicating and causing issues.
This is far from the only study to demonstrate these types of results, either.
Back in 2009, researchers published a similar experience in the Food Chemistry journal. In this case, the researchers isolated the Streptococcus mutans bacteria, which is responsible for the creation of cavities. This particular bacterium adheres strongly to teeth and feeds on sugars, which would make you think that Italian red wine isn’t the best thing to combine with it.
So…the researchers combined Italian red wine with the bacteria!
They mixed the bacteria with pulled teeth coated with saliva to observe who it connects to teeth. They then added a non-alcoholic red wine to each mixture and saw that it led to the bacteria struggling to stick as it normally does.
The researchers identified proanthocyanidins as the cause for the bacterium’s inability to stick.
And guess what proanthocyanidins are?
A form of polyphenol!
So, the conclusion we can draw from all of this is that the polyphenols found in Italian red wine and many other plant-based products help to protect your teeth from the dangerous bacteria that lead to decay and cavities.
Benefit #2 – It Tackles Gingivitis Too
If you read a few of our past blogs about how Italian red wine offers an array of health benefits, you’ve definitely come across that name before. Much like polyphenols, resveratrol is a compound that offers antioxidant properties. In fact, we can probably point to this little compound as the main reason why red wine is so good for the heart.
But it turns out that protecting your heart isn’t all that resveratrol can do.
A 2006 study published in the Journal of Periodontology saw researchers testing the effects that resveratrol has on the bacteria that causes gingivitis, which leads to really bad breath if you’ve been fortunate enough to never have to deal with the problem before.
The tests, which were conducted on lab mice, found that resveratrol was able to destroy up to 60% of the bacteria responsible for the condition, in most cases. And what’s more, the study found that resveratrol performed far better than a number of synthetic alternatives, which suggests that it could be used as a natural solution.
The Final Word
So, what can we take from all of this research? Should you drink as much Italian red wine as you possibly can to protect your teeth?
We certainly wouldn’t go that far!
As with every health benefit of Italian red wine, you’ll really only see the effects if you drink in moderation. If you’re constantly drinking loads of wine, you’re likely to experience some adverse effects.
However, what we see from this research is that Italian red wine has plenty of antibacterial properties. And those properties come from the presence of interesting compounds that come from plants and have remarkable effects on the human body.
When combined, it looks like polyphenols and resveratrol are able to either destroy or reduce the effectiveness of several bacteria that contribute to tooth decay, cavities, and even gingivitis.
So, what’s out recommendation?
Perhaps a glass of red wine a day will help you to keep the dentist away?
Of course, you should visit your dentist regularly to ensure your teeth stay healthy. But if you want to get proactive, why not grab a bottle of Italian red wine or two from the Xtrawine store today?
I’m a passionate about good wine and good cooking.
I like to keep me updated and share with my online friends my gastronomic knowledge.