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London: Suffering from gum disease? Sipping a glass of red wine may help combat the harmful bacteria and other pathogens that cause cavities in the mouth, claimed a new study.

The study found that wine contains abundant and structurally diverse polyphenols, that are rich in antioxidants properties, and may not only be good for the colon and heart but also protect oral health.

When combined with the streptococcus dentisani — an oral probiotic, the polyphenols were even better at fending off the pathogenic bacteria, said researchers led by M. Victoria Moreno-Arribas from the Institute of Food Science Research in Spain.

For the study, published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, the researchers checked out the effect of two red wine polyphenols, as well as commercially available grape seed and red wine extracts, on bacteria that stick to teeth and gums and cause dental plaque, cavities and periodontal disease.

The results found that the two wine polyphenols in isolation — caffeic and p-coumaric acids — were generally better than the total wine extracts at cutting back on the bacteria’s ability to stick to the cells.

The metabolites formed when digestion of the polyphenols begins in the mouth might be responsible for some of these effects, the researchers said.

Previous studies have suggested that drinking a couple of pegs may tamp down inflammation and help the brain clear away toxins. Limited comsumption of wine may also prevent the overall risk of developing cancer.