It seems that wine is a wonderful disinfectant for bad mouth germs, which is just another reason why we should all be drinking more of the good stuff. A study in 1998, examined the antibacterial properties of carbonated drinks, wine, beer, skim milk, and water. Take note that each of these beverages were infused with infectious bacteria like salmonella, E. coli, and shigella. After two days, the wine had the least amount of live bacteria, meaning it’s actually an effective disinfectant and bacteria can’t survive in it.
More recently, researchers made another study to determine why and how wine has such antibacterial properties, and discovered that it specifically fights germs in the mouth that cause dental plaque and sore throats.
The study, published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, revealed the acidity and alcohol concentration in wine aren’t what’s responsible for the antibacterial properties, as was believed in the past. Instead, it’s due to a number of organic compounds found in both white and red wines.
The researchers isolated compounds from lactic, malic, succinic, and tartaric acids, and after neutralizing their acidity, found that they kill 99.9 percent of dental bacterial and germs that cause sore throats. Authors wrote that exposure to wine had a persistent antibacterial effect.
A different study from 1998 tested the effects of red wine on salmonella and compared it to a disinfecting solution containing the same alcohol concentration and acidity level. They learned that red wine is better at killing the bacteria than the solution —and again, the acidity was the primary disinfectant and not the alcohol.