HealthLawProf Blog

Editor: Katharine Van Tassel
Concordia University School of Law

Monday, July 9, 2007

Drink More Wine Said the Dentist . . . .

Well, I am looking forward to my next dentist visit now -- woo!  I cannot wait to discuss the heightened levels of dental well-being that I may receive based on that glass of pinot noir I plan to have every evening - purely for medicinal purposes.     LiveScience/MSNBC reports on a new study concerning the ever-increasing health benefits of wine:

Drinking wine can maintain heart health, prevent cancer and even settle a mean case of diarrhea. Research now shows it’s also good for your teeth and throat.

According to a new study, a cocktail of compounds found in both red and white wine fights germs that can cause dental plaque as well as sore throats.

“Exposure to wine had a persistent antibacterial effect,” the authors wrote in their study, detailed in an upcoming issue of the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. Prior to their research, the authors said the effects of wine against germs found in the mouth hadn’t been studied.

Red wines have stronger bacteria-fighting effects than white wine, although not by much. Curiously, the acidity and alcohol isn’t responsible for wine’s germ-fighting properties—instead, it’s a collection of organic (carbon-containing) compounds found in the drink. . . . .

But don’t run out and gargle wine before brushing just yet, as the acids in wine can actually soften the hard but thin coat of 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 cut down on this risk, Bartlett recommends waiting at least 20 minutes before brushing after eating any acidic foods.

Based on all the good press that wine has been receiving lately, I am waiting for pharmaceutical manufacturers to distill its essence into tablet form.

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