Wine could make a good antibacterial mouth wash to fight tooth decay and a sore throat, according to Italian researchers.
Both red and white wine may have previously unrecognised health benefits at the very start of their journey into the body, according to a study that confirms something that has been known since antiquity, when wine was used to treat wounds.
Prof Gabriella Gazzani and colleagues at the University of Pavia in Italy point out in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry that previous studies suggested that moderate wine consumption has health benefits after reaching the stomach and digestion - in protecting against heart disease and cancer. But relatively little has been done to study its antibacterial activity, which was exploited in ancient times, and noone had studied whether wine could combat harmful oral bacteria.
The team showed that red and white wine were effective in inhibiting the growth of several strains of streptococci bacteria that are involved in tooth decay, and some cases of sore throat.
The compounds responsible for the antimicrobial activity were wine acids, notably succinic, malic, lactic, tartaric, citric, and acetic acids. “Overall, our findings seem to indicate that wine can act as an effective antimicrobial agent against the tested pathogenic oral streptococci and might be active in caries and upper respiratory tract pathologies prevention,” the study states.
“Red wine resulted to be more active as an antibacterial agent then white wine”, said Prof Gazzani, who is now investigating about the mechanisms by which wine can interfere with tooth decay and the possibility it offers advantages over standard mouthwashes.