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Updated: 07/12/2009 12:15 | By Marie Claire for MSN, www.marieclaire.co.uk

Is red wine actually good for your teeth?

Drinking red wine in moderate amount helps to rinse teeth clean of bacteria during and after meals, says a new study…


Is red wine actually good for your teeth?

Good news for Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon fans - red wine could be good for your teeth and help ward off tooth decay, according to new research. Italian scientists found it contains chemicals that stop harmful bacteria from sticking to teeth and suggest a daily glass of red could help to keep teeth healthy and reduce the need for fillings.

Unfortunately, if you prefer white wine it's not such good news. A recent study showed white wine could damage dental health because its high acid content erodes the enamel that coats the surface of a tooth.

Red wine, when drunk in moderation, is already thought to have a protective effect against heart disease and some forms of cancer.

In the latest study, researchers at Pavia University in Italy exposed the bacteria found in the mouth to a small amount of red wine that had all its alcohol content removed. This was so they could clarify if it was the alcohol, or something else in wine, that had a beneficial effect.

The results showed harmful organisms were unable to cling to teeth or saliva once exposed to red wine. Scientists said the active ingredient was a group of compounds rich in antioxidants that are found mainly in grape skins.

However, researchers are investigating whether the compounds can be extracted and used as a form of treatment on their own, as some wines contain sugars and acids that can also be corrosive to teeth.

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