Drinking wine prevents sore throat and dental plaque, study finds

The health benefits of drinking wine have long been known but as new studies surface, more healing abilities of wine are being discovered. For one, a recent study at the University of Pavia in Italy found that wine can help prevent the rise of streptococci, a type of oral bacteria that causes sore throat, dental plaque and other oral problems.

Though antibiotics can treat infections related to streptococci, drinking wine occasionally can help ward off oral infections and save one’s self from going to the doctor. Old and new studies show the numerous health benefits of wine, including its oral health benefits.

The health benefits of wine.

Back in 1988, a scientific study examined the antibacterial properties in carbonated drinks such as beer, wine, water and skim milk. Among these drinks, the researchers found that wine had the least amount of live bacteria. Hence, wine is an effective disinfectant that kills infectious bacteria like E.coli, salmonella, and shigella.

More recent studies went further to find out more about wine’s antibacterial properties. This time, the new research in Italy published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry found that the organic compounds in wine kill 99.9% of oral bacteria that cause sore throats and dental plaque. This is in contrast to the old belief that wine’s acidity and alcohol concentration are responsible for its antibacterial properties.

Drinking wine has health benefits.

To know which compounds were actually killing the bacteria, they separated the different chemical compounds in wine from one another. They performed the experiment three times but they got similar results: the organic compounds in wine, which are sometimes found in grapes, killed the bacteria.

According to the authors, “Several studies suggest that moderate wine consumption has beneficial effects on human health. The antioxidant and antiradical properties, particularly of red wine, attributed mainly to high polyphenol content, appear to protect against the risk of coronary heart disease and cancer.”

The study also stated that based on their findings, wine can inhibit or kill oral streptococci, thus also help prevent upper respiratory diseases. The authors concluded that “both red and white wines were proved to exert in vitro antibacterial activity against several oral streptococci.”  They also found that a red-wine compound can help kill two types of bacteria that cause gum disease, making it a more effective killer of oral bacteria.

As for how much wine people need to consume to fight oral bacteria, the study’s co-author, Gabriella Gazzani, said that even little amounts of wine may help in preventing sore throat, dental plaque and other dental health issues.

If you love wine, the findings of the study are definitely good news for you. You can now have a glass of your favorite wine while also protecting your throat, gums, and teeth from infectious bacteria. However, don’t brush your teeth right away after drinking wine as the acids in it can soften the coat of your protective tooth enamel.

“Sipping or holding acidic drinks in the mouth before swallowing increases the risk of erosion on dental enamel,” said Dr. David Bartlett of the Academy of General Dentistry. To reduce the risk, it is best is to wait at least 20 minutes before brushing your teeth after eating or drinking anything acidic.

(Note: This article is for informational and entertainment purposes only and not to be treated as a professional opinion, recommendation or diagnosis.)