Page last updated: Tuesday, November 18, 2008
Red wine and gum disease
Researchers are finding that components found in red wine can help in preventing and treating inflammatory periodontal diseases. Periodontitis is a progressive infectious disease affecting the gums and bone that surround and support teeth, often causing tooth movement and leading to permanent tooth loss. About 15% of adults between 21 and 50 years of age and 65% of adults over 50 are affected by this disease.

In recent years, the benefits of consuming fresh fruits and yellow-green vegetables and beverages, particularly green tea and red wine, have been reported to reduce human cancer incidence and mortality.

Scientists from Université Laval (Québec, Canada), reported at the 35th Annual Meeting of the American Association for Dental Research, conducted a study to investigate the role of polyphenols, including those from red wine, in scavenging free radicals released by immune cells stimulated with components of bacteria causing periodontal diseases. Because free radicals are generated by immune cells during periodontitis, it is critical to keep them at low levels to maintain healthy gums. Their results indicated that red wine polyphenols significantly modulate several inflammatory components released by macrophages (a population of host immune cells) in response to bacterial stimuli. Specifically, polyphenols efficiently scavenged and inhibited free-radical generation by host immune cells by controlling intracellular proteins involved in their release. These anti-oxidant properties of red wine polyphenols could be useful in the prevention and treatment of inflammatory periodontal diseases as well as other disorders involving free radicals.

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