Red wine may have effects on teeth beyond giving them a funny hue: A new study suggests it could also have potential in warding off cavities.
The study, published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, showed that red wine was able to get rid of dental disease-causing bacteria in a lab setting.
Spanish researchers used a young Pinot Noir for the study, as well as a de-alcoholized version of the wine, which is a type of the wine that had grape seed extract added to it, and a solution of water with 12 percent ethanol (the positive control). Researchers also gathered saliva samples from five volunteers in order to grow biofilms with dental disease-causing bacteria.
The researchers dipped the biofilms into the different liquids to see their effects on the bacteria. They found that the red wine (both alcoholic and non-alcoholic), as well as wine spiked with grape seed extract, effectively got rid of the bacteria.
They noted that ethanol -- which is in wine -- is known to be antimicrobial, but that even the non-alcoholic wine had effects in reducing bacteria.
“Since treatments of the biofilm with both wine and dealcoholized wine inhibited F. nucleatum growth, it was likely that other wine components -- apart from ethanol -- had antimicrobial properties against this bacteria species,” the study said.
But don't consider this study permission to gargle with red wine just yet, as it was conducted in a lab setting. However, there are certain foods that are considered "good" for teeth, particularly ones that stimulate saliva production, which can neutralize acid. Some good picks: cheese, celery and pears.