Red, Red Wine…Goes To My Teeth?

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I’m sure many of you know, red wine has beneficial effects on the heart. Now studies show that it may also benefit our teeth.

Let’s Go Back
Dental plaque is the white fluffy build up most commonly found around the ‘necks’ of the teeth (where the gum hugs the tooth). Plaque is made up of food debris and bacteria such as Streptococci and Lactobacilli. These bacteria act on fermentable carbohydrates and produce organic acids which cause cavities (demineralization of the teeth) and gum problems as well.

Biofilms
It is possible to grow cultures of bacteria which are responsible for causing decay…these are Biofilms. When Biofilms of decay-causing bacteria are dipped into red wine with or without alcohol, the result was a decrease in the number of bacteria.

Substantivity
The effectiveness of a product in its ability to decrease the decay-causing bacteria is how long it stays on the surface of the tooth….This is known as Substantivity.

Red wine has high substantivity and this is evident in that it readily stains the surface of the teeth. This plus the antioxidants that are present in grape seeds are the reason why red wine is effective in killing the bacteria.

We conclude
However, there is a bit of a trade off from the consumption of red wine: After all, what do you want? A decrease in decay-causing bacteria or an increase in calories and stained teeth…The solution: everything in moderation.

Oh, I almost forgot: Let’s raise our wine glasses and ‘toast’ to a happy and healthy holiday season!

Yours in good health,

Dr. Robert Axelrad, Brampton Dentist

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