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A Nose for Wine May Be Hard on Teeth

May 05, 2015

By Dean George

Some days don’t you just want to chuck everything, run away from it all and pursue a dream job like professional wine taster? Best think again. Seems every job has its professional hazards, and apparently, wine tasting is no different.

As regular readers of Dental Wire know, sugar is bad for our teeth, because it feeds the growth of Streptococcus mutans bacteria. This bacterium clings to teeth, forms plaque and causes bad breath.

Food and drinks high in acid also lead to tooth erosion, even though bacteria are not required to do its dirty work on teeth. With the high acidity levels found in foods and drinks like sodas, sports and high energy drinks, citrus fruits and wine, repeated exposure can wear down tooth enamel over time.

As previously reported in Dental Wire, the preferred pH balance is 7.3 to 7.4.  Scientists tell us that pH balances of 6.6 or lower can create unhealthy results, and enamel dissolves when the pH balance in the mouth is between 5.0 and 5.7. The pH balance of wine is a low 3.0 to 3.8, but that low pH balance of red and white wine is only part of the danger to tooth enamel. Other factors include:

  • During wine tasting, wine is sipped, swirled or swished around the teeth and tongue for 30 to 60 seconds. This frequently exposes tooth enamel to high levels of acid erosion longer than that from a routine glass of wine.
  • Aside from the pH levels, wine also includes chelator chemicals that cause tooth erosion by binding or trapping other chemicals. This causes tooth erosion by suppressing the healthy benefits of calcium to teeth, effectively removing it from teeth.

The long-term effects of dental erosion can include teeth staining, pitting, erosive lesions, tooth sensitivity and dentin exposure. Severe cases may include inflammation of the tooth pulp and tooth loss.

If this sounds a bit too Grapes of Wrath-esque for your comfort level, there are a few things you can do to protect your pearlies when wine tasting:

  • Swish the wine in your mouth for 30 seconds or less, preferably less. A 2013 Australian study involving 25 professional wine tasters indicated that the degree of tooth erosion was affected more by the length of exposure than the number of sips per day.
  • Drink lots of fluoridated water between tastings.
  • Eat calcium-rich cheese when wine tasting.
  • Supplement brushing your teeth twice a day with mouth rinses containing fluoride.
  • Visit your dentist twice annually for regular check-ups and teeth cleanings.

We can’t help you much with what makes a wine “playful” or how it tastes on your palate, but we can definitely provide a financial boost with regular dental check-ups. Also, our plans won’t leave your budget with a bitter aftertaste.

To see plans available in your area, click here.

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Copyright 2015, Bloom Insurance Agency, LLC©

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