Red wine is notorious for turning your mouth a potent shade of purple, but "red wine teeth" isn't always something you want to avoid - according to a new study which found that a compound found in the beverage could help to stave off tooth decay and gum disease. Polyphenols, a type of antioxidant found in red wines, helped protect against harmful mouth bacteria, concluded research published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.
Curious about red wine's effect on oral health, the Madrid-based researchers compared red wine's polyphenols to grape seed and red wine extract supplements. They observed the compounds' impact on bacteria known to cause dental plaque, cavities, and gum disease.
They found that while all the compounds reduced the bacteria's ability to stick to cells, the red wine polyphenols were most effective.
This isn't the first time red wine has been applauded for its health benefits. Multiple studies have concluded that the beverage has other beneficial effects on heart health, dementia prevention and longevity.
"Research on antioxidants has shown several health benefits," explained registered dietitian Keri Gans to The Daily Meal, "including the possibility they may lower the risk of Type 2 diabetes, improve cognitive function, decrease risk of dementia, and lower the risk of heart disease."
The study authors also noted red wine's effect on gut health, modulating "the growth of selected bacteria of colonic microbiota in healthy humans." In other words, red wine can help balance the "good bacteria" in your gut.
However, Gans warned that the benefits of red wine are preserved for those who drink it in moderation. "The key is to keep your intake moderate," Gans explained, "one 5-ounce glass of wine for women and up to two for men. Drinking in excess could possibly cause liver disease and impaired cognition."
So if you're someone who likes to have a glass or two with dinner, you're in a good place. If you need any convincing, here are 20 reasons why you should drink a glass of wine every day.