Wine May Curb Cavities

Red Wine, White Wine Counter Cavity-Causing Bacteria in Lab Tests

Medically Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD on June 22, 2007
From the WebMD Archives

June 22, 2007 -- Even with the alcohol removed, red wine and white wine may fight bacteria that cause cavities, an Italian study shows.

Before you toast the findings, remember that the study was done in test tubes. So it's too soon to count on a glass of wine to chase your cavities away.

The researchers, who work at Italy's University of Pavia, included Gabriella Gazzani, PhD.

First, they went to a local grocery store, where they bought some valpolicella (an Italian red wine) and pinot nero (an Italian white wine).

Back at their lab, the researchers stripped the alcohol out of the wine. They did that to prevent ethanol from interfering with their lab tests.

Next, the researchers marinated cavity-causing streptococcal bacteria in the wines. Both types of wine countered those bacteria and other streptococcal bacteria that cause some cases of throat infection.

Red wine might have had more antibacterial properties than white wine, but that wasn't certain, Gazzani's team notes.

The researchers also isolated acids found in red wine and white wine and tested those acids against the same bacteria, which are called S. mutans and S. pyogenes.

The isolated acids were more effective against the bacteria than the wines. So the researchers reason that while wine fights S.mutans and S. pyogenes, wine also contains compounds that dilute those benefits, to some extent.

The study appears online in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.

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Show Sources

SOURCES: Daglia, M. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, June 19, 2007; online edition. News release, American Chemical Society.

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