A toast to wine and teeth!

GateHouse — It’s a big day for me, as I hereby announce that I have officially quit reading any further studies regarding wine, because the last one I read pleased me greatly and fit extremely nicely with my lifestyle choices, and frankly, if any new studies come down the pike to disprove it, I have no interest in knowing about them. They could learn in two years that red wine turns your intestines neon orange and compels them to make a constant series of loud gurgling noises and slowly distorts your ability to see faces and makes you do ridiculous, irrational things, like snort when you laugh or be John McCain, and I still wouldn’t care. Basically I am happy with my current state of knowledge regarding wine, so I’m keeping it here, and disabling the Google alert.

What could possibly send me into fits of such effervescent glee? It turns out that in addition to wine’s already accepted health benefits – such as that it contains a great many antioxidants, which is apparently fantastic, may increase your overall heart health and gets you drunk – wine promotes healthy teeth and combats sore throats, too. (In my case it fights plague by making me often too sleepy to snack, but a result is a result.)

An upcoming issue of the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry (it’s the one with Nicole Richie on the cover with the headline “NICOLE’S BELLY BUMP”) reports that “a cocktail of compounds found in both red and white wine fights germs that can cause dental plague as well as sore throats.” (That cocktail of compounds, ironically, is a margarita.) “Exposure to wine had a persistent antibacterial effect,” the Journal goes on to say, and who I am to argue with a Journal? Especially a capitalized one. (This is excepting, of course, my years-long feud with Ladies’ Home Journal. THEY know what they did.)

Anyway, if you’re like me, this is news that caused you to immediately down three glasses of pinot noir and swish them around for about an hour, which, I found out later, is actually not a good idea, and makes your dental situation look basically like that of Shane MacGowan (if you do not know who Shane MacGowan is, Google him. Seriously. Whatever picture you find will be worth it. Go on. I’ll wait here.)

OK, welcome back, and I’m guessing that right there you exclaimed something like, “Merciful God in Heaven above! What kind of all-forgiving deity would allow such ghastly sin to burst forth from one man’s mouth?” especially if you tend to have extremely wordy exclamations that use way too many adverbs. Don’t weep for Shane MacGowan, because all he has to do is

1. Beat the hell out of somebody in a bar fight, which he’s probably done three times since I started writing this piece and…
2. Cut down a little on the wine intake and he’ll be fine.

“(By) isolating the compounds from wine, which included lactic, malic, succinic and tartaric acids,” the researchers “neutralized their acidity” and “showed that the isolated antibacterial compounds were more successful than wine alone at killing 99.9 percent of the dental and sore throat bacteria, even when used in far lower concentrations than found in wine.” Now I know what you’re thinking, and I have no idea what that means either. But the 99.9 percent figure is hard to ignore, and makes you think: How come, in 2007, dental breakthroughs involve the healing properties in wine, whereas in, say, 1992, they involved me getting braces in the 11th-blanking grade, ensuring that I wouldn’t smile for 18 full months, to say nothing of never asking out the brunette in my Spanish class on whom I had a brain-scrambling crush, not that I’m bitter, stupid dental industry, I hate you so much.

Anyway, troubled nostalgia aside, I think it’s great that the dentist of the future will practice in a lowlit jazz club, and situate his patients in a plush recliner (I’m thinking purple), while a subtle but rewarding singer dishes out Mose Allison tunes in the background as you and your doctor kick back and knock around your forthcoming dental options, which will likely involve some light appetizers and a preview of the regenerative powers of the chocolate-covered donut. I’m anxious to get started in this brave new world, and open it to others as well. Shane: Call me.

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About Jeff Vrabel

My writing has appeared in GQ, Men’s Health, Success, the Washington Post, the official BruceSpringsteen.net, Indianapolis Monthly, Billboard, Modern Bride and more. View all posts by Jeff Vrabel

4 responses to “A toast to wine and teeth!

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