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Periodontal disease is caused by bacteria that produce acid, stripping away the covering of the teeth and promoting gum disease and tooth loss. Dentists struggle with gum disease and it is one of the leading causes of tooth loss.
I asked a San Antonio dentist one time that if I had to choose between brushing and flossing- which would he recommend? He commented that such a choice is going to be bad for my teeth either way, but in his estimation flossing was more important. Gum disease is a big deal.
In the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry Researches comment on the incredibly complex bio-system that exists in your mouth. Teeth may look smooth but actually they do not shed food well and this allows micro-organisms like bacteria to stick to teeth for an extended period, allowing for the formation of biolfims and dental plaque.
Bacteria such as streptococci or lactobacilli can and do develop on and around the teeth and they produce organic acids from the sugars you are eating. (Keep that in mind when you are hitting the sodas). These acid damage the surface of the teeth and cause tooth decay and gum disease.
Often when a person has periodontal disease (bacteria that has taken a firm hold in the gums) dentists use various medications to kill the bacteria. But as time goes on, bacteria are becoming more and more resistant to these drugs.
Polyphenols found in tea and phenolic extracts in wine have recently been noted as having a possible inhibiting effect on the growth of some strains of the Streptococcus bacteria, which of course has implications for dental care.
Red wine, including alcohol-free, was also found to have some impact on bacteria growth.
The researchers stated that “Our results show that red wine, at moderate concentration, inhibits the growth of some pathogenic species in an oral biofilm model…” Which in rough translation means that some red wine intake may not only have benefits in fighting heart disease, but also periodontal disease.
It is now widely accepted that a moderate intake of red wine has a beneficial effect on heart disease. Dentists have also long since noted that the bacteria entering the blood stream from gum disease has a negative impact on heart health. This leads to the question of whether red wine could be helping heart health by reducing harmful bacteria in the gums, and thus lessening its impact on the heart?
The researchers in this study started that:
“These findings contribute to existing knowledge about the beneficial effects of red wines (one of the most important products of agriculture and food industries) on human health. Moreover, the promising results concerning grape seed extract, which showed the highest antimicrobial activity, open promising ways toward a natural ingredient in the formulation of oral care products specifically indicated for the prevention of caries, due to its antimicrobial properties.”
While some researchers published in Medical News Today have questioned that the resveratrol in red wine is the active ingredient for hearth health, they did find a positive connection between red wine and heart health.
In summary it appears that red wine has more benefits than initially anticipated – including dental hygiene!
Bottoms up for good dental health (but in moderation).