The polyphenols contained in red wine repel bacteria that cause cavities and gum disease, say Spanish researchers.
To date, these organic molecules have shown benefits against cancer, inflammatory and neurodegenerative diseases, and cardiovascular problems.
In fact, the antioxidants in polyphenols protect the body from the damage caused by free radicals, whose effect on the body can be compared to rust on the bodywork of an automobile. The oxidation caused by free radicals attacks the tissues and cells of the body, thus accelerating their aging.
The role of polyphenols in the treatment of oral problems has, however, been studied very little.
Researcher Victoria Moreno-Arribas and her colleagues at the Higher Council of Scientific Research of Spain believe that it is the abundance and structural diversity of the polyphenols found in red wine that give it its beneficial properties to oral health.
Concretely, it is the anti-adhesive power of the polyphenols, and particularly the caffeic and paracoumaric acids that they contain, which makes it possible to fight against the bacteria associated with periodontitis ( Porphyromonas gingivalis ), with the dental plaque ( Fusobacterium nucleatum ), and with tooth decay ( Streptococcus mutans ).
The researchers also found that when combined with the bacterium Streptococcus dentisani , an isolated species of dental plaque from caries-free individuals, polyphenols are even more effective against pathogenic bacteria.
Polyphenols represent thousands of compounds found in plants, especially in berries, vegetables, and plants such as tea trees.
They are also used as additives by the agri-food, pharmaceutical and cosmetic industries.
Eventually, polyphenol extracts could be incorporated into a chewing gum and serve as prevention for oral problems.
The details of this work are published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.
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