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Red Wine Grapes Prevent Cavities?

Don't throw away your toothbrush and dental floss just yet but a recent study published in the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry has some promising news about wine grapes and oral health.

Researchers from the University of Rochester Medical Center in New York report that the skin and seeds of red wine grapes may hinder the formation of dental caries, an infectious disease that causes tooth decay and cavities.

The USDA sponsored study found that polyphenols in the grapes seemed to inhibit enzymes called glycosyltransferases (GTFs) from protecting the harmful bacteria that coat teeth.

The polyphenol extract used also seemed to cause the bacteria --called Streptococcus mutans (S mutans)--to produce less of the acid that leads to tooth decay and cavities.

These results add to a growing list of polyphenol health benefits. Polyphenols also contain powerful antioxidants that provide anti-aging properties and protect cells from oxidation that can lead to neuro-degenerative and cardiovascular diseases.

Perhaps the best way to boost polyphenol intake is by drinking a glass of tea each day.  Green tea in particular is great for overall health and contains epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG), the polyphenol most strongly associated with cancer prevention.
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