Is your favourite wine damaging your smile?

·2-min read
AGE FOTOSTOCK

With the arrival of warmer weather, many of us will be enjoying bottomless brunches and glasses of rosé out in the sunshine.

However, dental hygienist and founder of London Hygienist, Anna Middleton, notes that increased alcohol consumption can have an impact on our teeth.

"The impact of increased alcohol consumption can cause long-term damage, which a lot of us won't be considering at the moment," she explained. "Its acidity, staining effects and other influencers can alter the appearance and durability of teeth over time."

Here are some ways wine can damage teeth:

Alcohol acidity

Alcohol contains acid, and some alcohol contains more than others. It is found in beers, spirits and wine, with wine being the most acidic.

"Acids respond to bacteria in the mouth by creating lactic acid, which further destructs the tooth enamel. When this coating dissolves, your teeth become more susceptible to decay and you may notice a change in colour and experience sensitivity," she noted. "Acidic elements cling to the teeth, so if you don't practice good oral hygiene every day, your teeth are vulnerable to damage."

Sugar content

All forms of alcohol contain sugar and quite simply, the sweeter it tastes, the more sugar it contains.

"Prosecco is one of the worst. A sip of the famous bubbles means a double whammy of sugar and acid on your teeth causing instant damage. It can lead to the demineralisation of the enamel, which is the loss of calcium and other minerals from the tooth," the expert continued. "Healthy enamel should be white and shiny, but too much fizz will dissolve the teeth leaving them dull, chalky and at risk of crumbling away."

Staining

Alcoholic drinks that boast deep, dark shades are generally the culprits for staining teeth. These include beers, red wine, coffee liqueurs and other concentrated beverages, which cause discolouration and staining that can have long-lasting effects.

"Abstaining from drinking this kind of alcohol, as well as establishing an oral hygiene routine, can improve the colour of your teeth and ensure that they remain unstained and in good condition," said Anna.

How can you minimise the effects?

Anna recommends using a straw for drinks and rinsing your mouth with water after drinking, keeping acids and sugars to mealtimes only, using sugar-free gum or mint to neutralise plaque acids and opting for a toothpaste designed to fight acid erosion twice a day.

"Try to consume no more than 14 units a week - equivalent to six pints of beer or seven glasses of wine," she added. "Try and drink moderately over three or more days and aim for some alcohol-free days."

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