Wine lovers may be pleased to learn that the United States now ranks as the leading consumer of wine. While France has seen wine consumption fall by 17% over the past decade, the U.S. has had a 20% increase. Many Americans have begun enjoying a glass of wine as an accompaniment to meals and often include wine in many social settings.
Most consumers believe that wine is a healthy beverage, especially when compared to beer and liquor. It has been shown that, when consumed in moderation, wine does have health benefits, from reducing blood pressure to lowering the risk for diabetes and stroke.
However, the health benefits of wine when it comes to your smile simply don’t exist. Quite frankly, wine is detrimental to your oral health. While it’s pretty obvious that red wine can cause staining of teeth, the problems can go far deeper.
You may be unaware that wine is highly acidic. It is. And, when this acid mixes with the acids in the mouth that aid in digestion, the intensity can erode tooth enamel. This leaves the protective enamel on teeth in a weakened state and increases your risk for cavities.
According to some studies, wine is so acidic that tooth enamel has been shown to soften in only ten minutes of drinking wine. Since many wine drinkers sip a glass of wine before dinner or linger with several glasses over the course of an evening, the long period of acidic damage can have costly consequences.
Any alcoholic beverage has a drying effect on gum tissues in the mouth. The alcohol in wine can add to oral dryness, which leaves you more vulnerable to bacteria growth in the mouth. This can lead to bad breath and contribute to your susceptibility for cavities and gingivitis, the initial stage of gum disease.
Of course, I’m not suggesting you give up wine. However, you can minimize damaging your precious teeth by following some simple tips. First, try to alternate sips of wine with water. Allow the water to wash over your teeth before you swallow, which will help dilute acidity. Also, conclude your wine for the evening by swishing with water. And, since cheese is high in alkalinity, eating cheese with wine can help to neutralize it’s acidity.
At home, consider using a prescription level fluoride toothpaste or mouth rinse. This aids in strengthening tooth enamel. Because the enamel is already soft from high acid levels, avoid brushing your teeth just after wine consumption. Instead, wait 30 minutes to allow acid levels in the mouth to subside. Brushing while enamel is weak and vulnerable will damage teeth due to the abrasiveness of tooth paste and the brush’s bristles. Remember, once enamel is worn away, it is gone for good.
Yes, you can indulge in your favorite wine AND keep your smile healthy and looking great! Remember these helpful tips and say Cheers!