Posted .



red wine and oral healthWe have noticed somewhat conflicting information about the effects of red wine on oral health. Below are two samples of what we mean.






 Red Wine May Have Cavity-Fighting Powers

From the article:

Red wine may have effects on teeth beyond giving them a funny hue: A new study suggests it could also have potential in warding off cavities.

The study, published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, showed that red wine was able to get rid of dental disease-causing bacteria in a lab setting.

Spanish researchers used a young Pinot Noir for the study, as well as a de-alcoholized version of the wine, which is a type of the wine that had grape seed extract added to it, and a solution of water with 12 percent ethanol (the positive control). Researchers also gathered saliva samples from five volunteers in order to grow biofilms with dental disease-causing bacteria.

The researchers dipped the biofilms into the different liquids to see their effects on the bacteria. They found that the red wine (both alcoholic and non-alcoholic), as well as wine spiked with grape seed extract, effectively got rid of the bacteria.

They noted that ethanol — which is in wine — is known to be antimicrobial, but that even the non-alcoholic wine had effects in reducing bacteria.

“Since treatments of the biofilm with both wine and dealcoholized wine inhibited F. nucleatum growth, it was likely that other wine components — apart from ethanol — had antimicrobial properties against this bacteria species,” the study said. 


and here is a recent headline from Dentistry Today:

Red Wine may not be so Good for Oral Health

From the article:

Red wine may be good for your overall health but not so much for you oral health.

The acidity of red wine leaves a mark on your teeth and over time that takes its toll. A survey released recently showed that only 16 percent of people are concerned with oral health implications when drinking alcohol. This is a problem based on the fact that many alcoholic drinks are filled with sugar and possess high acidity levels.

Acidic drinks attack enamel, making teeth more susceptible to bacteria. Sparkling wines or Champagne are the worst offenders of attacking teeth, which is why it’s better to drink a flat drink than a fizzy drink based on lesser carbonation.

Acidic drinks are a major problem for teeth during the summer, when people are more likely to drink acidic fruit punches or attend celebrations where they will drink Champagne. Drinking water between drinks may help to curb the adverse effects of acidic alcoholic drinks.

There are many drinks—in addition to red wine or port—that stain teeth. Coffee-based cocktails or spirits mixed with dark juices also have the same negative impact on teeth. It’s essential to brush thoroughly after consuming these beverages when enough time has passed, preventing brushing from doing more harm than good.


So which is it?  For many years the benefits of drinking moderate amounts of red wine for heart heath have circulated. Recent studies suggest that the consumption of wine may inhibit the growth of certain bacteria in the biofilm. However, the acidic nature of wine (pH of between 2.9-3.9) suggests to us that the trade-off of a slight antimicrobial effect on some of the bacteria is going to be the effects of the very low pH on the biofilm.  According to the ADA “the study actually found that red wine with or without alcohol had no effect on the growth of Strep Mutans, the bacteria associated with caries.”  In addition, we know that there are good bacteria that can turn bad (acidic) if remaining at a low pH.  So what do we think? Everything in moderation.  Be smart if you choose to drink wine or any other alcoholic beverage.  It is a good idea to swish with water or use a mouth spray with xylitol after the pH has been lowered in the mouth.  Enjoy your wine, but be aware of the risks!

What do you think? Do you drink wine for its health benefits?

This blog post was originally posted on