A scientific study says a chemical found in red wine may help with oral health. Before you reach for the cabernet, TC Newman has more information!
Red wine colors your tongue, but your teeth may not mind a little juice of the vine.
Sipping moderate—keyword, moderate—amounts of wine on a regular basis can be good for your colon, heart, immune system and mental health. Wine, after all, was at the core of the so-called “French paradox,” or the observation in 1980 that cardiovascular disease was far less prevalent among the French, despite their penchant for saturated fats, low activity levels and cigarettes. The outlier: The French also consumed more wine per capita than other nations.
It was a simple, elegant excuse to wash your indulgences down with a glass of vino. Of course, correlation isn’t always causation, and the French paradox failed to incorporate a host of other variables that contributed to good health in France. Although the paradox has faded with time, scrutinizing it led to a lot of solid research into the secrets of wine.
Scientists now know that wine is an elixir of polyphenols, which are metabolites with antioxidant qualities found in grape skins and other plant fibers. In wine, there are several hundred varieties, which all affect a wine’s flavor, taste and mouthfeel. The beneficial action from polyphenols is thought to occur as they interact with bacteria in the gut, producing useful byproducts. But that metabolic action begins as soon as wine hits your lips, where oral bacteria and enzymes in your mouth work at the beginning of the value chain. However, there hasn’t been much research into how bacteria and wine polyphenols dance together in the mouth.