Perhaps it should. According to a new study, red wine may be the next big dental health fad. It contains a chemical that protects teeth from decay. When swished for two minutes, like you would with mouthwash, red wine can be just as — or even more — effective at protecting your pearly whites from cavities.
Dr. Steven Goldberg, D.D.S., a practicing dentist from New York City and inventor of the DentalVibe Injection Comfort System, said that red wine’s medicinal properties date back to the ancient Egyptians. Resveratrol, an antioxidant in red wine, is reported to have a protective effect against heart disease and some forms of cancer, but those are internal benefits. Red wine contains flavan-3-ols, or flavanols, which have been shown to reduce bad decay-causing bacteria in your mouth. (Now you can protect your ticker and your teeth at the same time!)
We wanted to know if simply drinking red wine can protect your teeth, or if you need to go all out with a Scope-like swish.
Goldberg said that swishing it around offers more protection against cavities than just drinking it. (You can get in some swishing time at the dinner table, too, but perhaps not on a first date.)
"To best protect against harmful bacteria in our mouths that cause gum disease and tooth decay, you need to spread the red wine throughout your mouth to ensure it reaches any spot where those bacteria could be lurking," Goldberg said.
What about tooth staining from red wine — doesn’t that counteract the good effects of swishing with red wine? Maybe, but a simple trick can protect your teeth from red wine stains while still enabling them to lap up the tooth-protecting — and might we add, feel-good — benefits of a red wine swish.
Goldberg recommends following a red wine wash with a rinse of water to help prevent staining. Or you can just keep a bottle in the bathroom if you’re feeling hard-core about your vino-inspired dental health.
"This will ensure that you get the antibacterial benefits of the red wine, but avoid potentially staining your teeth due to its acidity and color," he said.
Time to ditch the Listerine?
"Who knows, red wine may just become the next vino wash!" Goldberg said.
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