The secret to healthier teeth and gums — from the last source you might expect

I hope you’re able to cherish time with friends and family this Memorial Day, as we give pause in remembrance of those who have made the ultimate sacrifice to serve our country.

Of course, this holiday is traditionally celebrated with family gatherings and backyard barbeques. Personally, I’m looking forward to relaxing with a good glass of Malbec and a juicy steak this evening. With that in mind, I couldn’t think of a better time to share the results of a new study that reveals how red wine can help prevent tooth decay and gum disease.

If you’ve been a longtime reader of mine, you’re already aware of the mountain of evidence showing that moderate alcohol consumption offers a wide-range of health benefits — such as improved digestion, cognition, and blood pressure.

And despite the prohibitionist agenda that somehow still lingers in today’s world (which I’ll touch on a bit more in just a moment), solid ongoing research consistently shows the vast, scientific benefits of alcohol consumption. And now, we can add one more to the list…

This new study, published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, examined the link between wine and oral health.

Spanish researchers found that micronutrients in red wine, called polyphenols, reduced the ability of bacteria — which causes cavities, plaque, and gum disease — to stick to the teeth and gums. The polyphenols are even more effective when combined with a probiotic.

As you know, I remain skeptical that probiotic supplements can pass through the acidic contents of the stomach and the strong digestive juices of the small intestine to make it to the colon.

But I can see how an oral probiotic, if it dissolves in the mouth, could help prevent unhealthy bacteria from lodging itself into the teeth and gums. Of course, red wine is made with probiotic bacteria in the first place, through the process of fermentation.

Fruits such as apples, oranges, and cranberries also contribute to good oral health.

When and where the weather is warm, I enjoy sangria — which combines red or white wine and fruit — and is served at my favorite Cuban and Spanish restaurants here at my home in Florida.

Of course, it’s important to keep in mind that wine is also acidic and could potentially harm tooth enamel if consumed in excess. Which is just one more reason you should always consume alcohol in moderation. Drinking wine with a meal can also help to neutralize any acidity.

But despite the strong science supporting moderate alcohol consumption for a variety of health benefits, there are still prohibitionists out there drinking the Kool-Aid (instead of wine or sangria).

Prohibitionists vilify the wrong substances

What really boggles my mind is how those leading the crusade against alcohol continually refuse to pay attention to the science.

There’s a trove of research on the biological effects of alcohol, thanks to modern science’s steady research since the repeal of Prohibition in 1933.

Initially, research on alcohol focused on behavioral and toxicological data. For example, we know far more about the different effects of alcohol, at different blood levels, on the body and behavior than we do any drug — or any dietary supplement, for that matter.

We’ve also studied the stages of these effects — including the level/duration of consumption and changes in blood levels. And we also know exactly what constitutes “intoxication” with alcohol (and what doesn’t).

Nonetheless, modern-day prohibitionists continue to focus on the potential negative effects of excess alcohol (even though the vast majority of the population uses alcohol in moderation). And they continue to push for lower and lower legal blood alcohol levels for driving. Even below what the well-established science shows is actually safe to consume.

By comparison, we know almost nothing about the dose-related effects of drugs like marijuana. In fact, as I explained last week, the term “medical marijuana” gets thrown around a lot by politically correct politicians.

But in reality, there’s no such thing. Physicians are just winging it. They have no idea what doses cause intoxication in different individuals. Heck, they don’t even have a clue about the real long-term side effects of smoking marijuana! (However, we do now know that inhaling marijuana smoke is 3 times more dangerous than tobacco smoke.)

Plus, we know “driving under the influence” of marijuana doubles the rate of motor vehicle fatalities in states where it’s been legalized.

Doctors, scientists, and public health policies should stick to the science. And let our priests, rabbis, and preachers guide us on ethics, morality, and values.

I remember when I was working with my mentor, U.S. Surgeon General C. Everett Koop during the Reagan Administration in the 1980s, he would say, “I was appointed as the country’s surgeon general, not the national chaplain, or preacher general.”

I was reminded of Dr. Koop’s sentiment recently after I read a statement from Naveed Sattar, professor of metabolic medicine at the University of Glasgow. He told BBC News, “the less wine or alcohol one drinks, the lower the risks of disease [and] the lower the mortality risks.”

That statement is an absolute falsehood, according to the research. Though, I suspect this guy’s views are based on religious prejudices, not science.

As for me, I’ll stick with the facts and the Spanish researchers on this one and keep enjoying the health benefits of wine — including better oral health.

And speaking of oral health…tomorrow, I’ll reveal some myths you’ll want to ditch regarding daily hygiene habits. Stay tuned!


“Red wine compound ‘could help tooth decay and gum disease fight’,” BBC News ( 2/21/2018