Red Wine Can Help Prevent/Treat Periodontal Disease

Dentistry Today


Researchers are finding that components found in red wine can help in preventing and treating inflammatory periodontal diseases. Periodontal disease affects approximately 15% of adults between 21 and 50 years of age and 65% of adults over 50. 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. The potential health benefits of those products are attributed to a broad range of compounds called polyphenols. Recent studies have also shown that red wine, and particularly grape seeds, possess anti-inflammatory and anti-tumor activities and prevent heart disease. Mechanisms by which these phenolic compounds exert their protective effects include their antioxidant properties. Scientists from University Laval in Quebec, Canada, reported at the 35th Annual Meeting of the American Association for Dental Research on 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 that cause 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. The study results indicated that red wine polyphenols significantly modulate several inflammatory components released by macrophages 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 antioxidant 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.

(Source: American Association for Dental Research news release, March 10, 2006)