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News / February 25, 2018

Experts skeptical over red wine study

by Guy Hiscott

A new study on ‘beneficial’ chemicals found in red wine for oral health has caused debate among experts.

The research, publicised widely in the media, suggests that a glass of wine a day could be good for oral health.

The study found that chemicals called polyphenols, which are found in red wine, help to prevent bacteria sticking to gum tissue and could ‘fend off’ the bacteria that cause tooth decay and gum disease.

But despite the results, experts worry about the impact a widely publicised study like this could have on the public, with one expert saying that it is no ‘lab bench to lifestyle’ recommendation.

Catherine Collins from the British Dietetic Association told the Irish Examiner: ‘We might now sip red wine or coffee without guilt, but none of us hold drinks in our mouth for 24 hours at a time to reproduce this particular study method.

‘And though the researchers showed their “wine extract” polyphenols to be safe in terms of cell cultures, in real life the alcohol present alongside these red wine polyphenols not only has a bactericidal effect (hence the basis of alcohol mouthwashes), but is also an independent risk factor for mouth cancer.’

Don’t be fooled

Another, Professor Naveed Sattar, professor of metabolic medicine at the University of Glasgow, who wasn’t involved in the study, told the Mirror: ‘There is no good evidence that drinking wine per se is overall good for health – on the contrary, more and more evidence from other sources now suggests the less wine or alcoholic drinks, the lower the risks of range of disease and the lower the mortality risks.

‘People should not be fooled into thinking wine is good or health giving, however much they would like to hear such a message.’

The study was carried out by the Institute of Food Science Research in Madrid, Spain.