When it comes to drinks that can damage your teeth, wine is close to the top of the list. You can blame that on its high acid content, with white wine tending to be higher in acid than red.
Julia Hallisy, D.D.S., president of the nonprofit Empowered Patient Coalition in San Francisco, says that the rate of dental erosion from drinking wine differs from person to person, but it still threatens your teeth. Here’s why, along with good advice on how you can protect them.
Why wine can damage teeth
It’s often high in sugar. And people tend to sip wine over a period of time, which increases the exposure of teeth to that sugar.
It’s very acidic. That acidity can weaken the tooth enamel over time.
It can be high in carbohydrates. That can break down fairly quickly into sugar in your mouth.
It tends to dry out your mouth and decrease saliva. Less saliva means less buffering (or neutralizing) of the acids produced by the bacteria in our mouths, making it easier for plaque to stick to teeth that are dry.
What you can do
If you are a wine drinker, there are several precautions you can take to keep your teeth healthy, says Hallisy, who has a dental practice in San Francisco.
If you tend to sip your wine over an extended period of time, make sure you are also rinsing with water, she says. Do this instead of brushing your teeth immediately afterward, which can actually make things worse. The mechanical friction from brushing right after teeth have been exposed to acid can accelerate eroson, Hallisy says.
In addition, at your next visit to the dentist bring up the topic of your dietary habits. That way your dentist can be on the lookout for any early signs of tooth erosion.
You should know: The answer above provides general health information that is not intended to replace medical advice or treatment recommendations from a qualified healthcare professional
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Tracy Davenport, Ph.D., is a freelance health writer and the C.E.O. of Tracy’s Smoothie Place. She serves as the expert on a weekly radio show about health and wellness and is the author of Making Life Better for a Baby with Acid Reflux and multiple articles about the cost of caregiving. Learn more about Tracy and what healthy living services and products she can offer on her website. She can also be found on Twitter and Instagram @drinksmoothies.