Red Wine and Cranberry Juice: Good Guys for Gums

Based on the web posting “One More Thing Red Wine is Good for: Your Gums”

Edited Article and Commentary by Dr. Don Rose, Writer, Life Alert


Seniors need to be extra careful about protecting their teeth, and that means making sure their gums are healthy as well, since healthy gums provide crucial support for teeth. Red wine has been a “star food” of late; some well-publicized studies showed that it appears to have beneficial effects on several areas of the body (e.g., the heart, brain and eyes). Now research seems to indicate it has healthy effects on the gums as well. Another red berry-derived liquid that’s related to red wine - cranberry juice - also appears to be “berry berry” good for the gums. More info below. --Dr. Don Rose



The health benefits of red wine have been well publicized in recent years. For example, there is evidence that red wine might slow Alzheimer's, spare us from cataracts, and cut the risk of some cancers. It has also been shown to help the heart. Pretty potent stuff.

Now the London Times reports on a recent Canadian study suggesting that key ingredients found in red wine (and its relative, cranberry juice) might also stave off periodontitis. This gum disease, afflicting about 65 percent of folks over 50, can lead to loss of bone – and eventually, teeth.

Fruits, Veggies, Red Wine and Cranberry Juice: Good for Getting Good Gums

Periodontitis “is caused by bacteria that stimulate the immune cells and release highly active oxygen free radicals”. The London Times article details how a research team from the Université Laval, in Quebec, is convinced that the antioxidants in many fruits and vegetables - and in red wine - can counter the free radicals. The researchers used an extract of cranberry juice, very similar to the polyphenols found in red wine, to test the effects of polyphenols on the immune response from a range of bacteria commonly found in the mouth.

The result: the researchers found that cranberry juice was a “potent inhibitor” of inflammation. This suggests that it could form the basis of a new type of gum therapy; “cranberry constituents may offer perspectives for the development of a new … approach to the prevention and treatment of periodontitis”.

Closing Thoughts

A growing body of evidence suggests that increasing one’s intake of cranberry juice and red wine - as well as related products (e.g., juices) derived from fruits and vegetables - is likely to provide a range of health benefits for the body, especially the gums. Hence, increasing the amounts of these items in the diet would seem to be a prudent move. If you want to avoid the alcohol in wine, other foods that contain the beneficial polyphenols found in red wine (for instance, cranberry juice) appear to be a good alternative.


Those wishing to access more information about why cranberry juice is helpful to dental health can read the detailed research report from the Journal of Dental Research.

This article is based on a web posting titled “One More Thing Red Wine is Good for: Your Gums”, on the Sports Geezer website (no author name was listed). The information provided is, to the best of our knowledge, reliable and accurate. However, while Life Alert always strives to provide true, precise and consistent information, we cannot guarantee 100 percent accuracy. Readers are encouraged to review the original article, and use any resource links provided to gather more information before drawing conclusions and making decisions. The article on this Life Alert website and the content it is based on are covered by a Creative Commons License. You are free to copy, distribute, display, and perform the work; to make derivative works; to make commercial use of the work -- under the following conditions: Attribution -- You must attribute the work in the manner specified by the author or licensor. For any reuse or distribution, you must make clear to others the license terms of this work. Please go to the Creative Commons License site for more information on the CC license that applies to this work.

Don Rose writes books, papers and articles on computers, the Internet, AI, science and technology, and issues related to seniors.

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