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Wine may cure bad breath by killing mouth bacteria

You’ve likely heard that wine can have some healthy benefits, such as improved cardiovascular health or boosts from antioxidants (in moderate quantities, of course). But new research suggests that drinking wine may also destroy the bacteria that cause bad breath, gum disease, and cavities.

In the past, dentists have often warned that the acidic nature of alcohol can damage teeth. But a recent study published in the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry has found that antioxidants in wine can prevent certain bacteria from sticking to your gums. This bacteria is known to cause plaque, cavities, and periodontal disease.

According to the study’s authors, led by Dr. Victora Moreno-Arribas from the Spanish National Research Council in Madrid, this new discovery could lead to the development of “wine-inspired” toothpastes and mouthwashes that contain these beneficial antioxidants. There’s no word yet on whether you’d be able to get these in “pinot noir” or “chardonnay” flavors.

The study’s findings also suggest that antioxidants in red wine are more effective at preventing bacteria from sticking to lab-grown “gum tissue” cells than commercially available grape seed and red wine extracts. “Oral cells normally constitute a physical barrier that prevent infections,” explains Moreno-Arribas. “But bacterial adhesion to host tissues constitutes a key step in the infectious process.”

When these wines are digested in the mouth, the antioxidants are believed to produce molecules that could benefit our oral health. “Delivery methods for these compounds to treat oral disorders should be optimized,” says Moregno-Arribas. “Mouthwashes and chewing gums have been proposed as interesting matrices for the application of dietary polyphenols in the management of oral health.”

So the next time someone tells you to curb your wine-drinking habits, just tell them, “watch your mouth!”

By Connor Ertz, Staff Writer

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