Cabernet or Crest? Bet­ter check with your den­tist

Modern Healthcare - - OUTLIERS ASIDES & INSIDES -

Out­liers can’t quite say how your den­tist might re­act to your gar­gling with it yet, but red wine could de­serve a place on your oral-care reg­i­men.

A re­cent lab ex­per­i­ment found cer­tain ex­tracts of the fer­mented bev­er­age helped to com­bat bac­te­ria that cause cav­i­ties and gum dis­ease.

The find­ings are in­trigu­ing, den­tists say, but don’t toss out your mouth­wash and tooth­paste yet.

The mouth is a vir­tual breed­ing ground for all kinds of mi­cro­bial species, said re­searchers from Spain and Switzer­land who were in­ves­ti­gat­ing nat­u­ral reme­dies for fight­ing our mouth­ful of ick. Sci­en­tists grew cul­tures of cav­ity and gum dis­ease-caus­ing bac­te­ria in a lab, then ex­posed those cul­tures to red wine, red wine ex­tract, red wine spiked with grape seed ex­tract and, for com­par­i­son, wa­ter. In mod­er­ate con­cen­tra­tions, red wine in­hib­ited the growth of some pathogens, and grape seed ex­tract showed high an­timi­cro­bial ac­tiv­ity, ac­cord­ing to the study pub­lished in the Amer­i­can Chemical So­ci­ety’s Jour­nal of Agri­cul­tural and Food Chem­istry.

“The re­sults were sur­pris­ing,” said study au­thor, M. Vic­to­ria Moreno-Ar­ribas. “They proved, for the first time, the an­timi­cro­bial prop­er­ties of wine and other-re­lated prod­ucts in an oral biofilm model.” The au­thors hope more re­search can lead to the de­vel­op­ment of nat­u­ral oral-care prod­ucts that ward off den­tal dis­eases.

It’s def­i­nitely an in­ter­est­ing find­ing, said Dr. Matthew Messina, con­sumer ad­viser for the Amer­i­can Den­tal As­so­ci­a­tion. But, he says wine lovers shouldn’t get car­ried away. The re­sults are very pre­lim­i­nary. Plus, there are—go fig­ure—some mi­nuses.

“Red wine has the po­ten­tial, in high amounts, to in­crease oral can­cers,” Messina said. “And the stain from red wine makes the sur­faces of the teeth rougher, so more stuff sticks to it.”

In­stead, stick to the tried and true, Messina said: Brush twice a day, floss once a day, eat a healthy diet and see your den­tist on a reg­u­lar ba­sis.

“It’s not as sexy,” he said, “but it works!”

Messina isn’t the only buz­zkill out there, of course. An­other re­cent study in JAMA In­ter­nal Medicine found resver­a­trol, a polyphe­nol in red wine that other stud­ies have found to be ben­e­fi­cial, had no ef­fect on the health of older adults.

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