Orange County, NY is wine country. It’s a well-kept secret, but it’s true. Not only do we love our wine, but we have many fine wineries in the countryside of the the beautiful and fertile Hudson Valley.
However, our wine habit isn’t always good for our teeth. Recently, there’s been a focus on the potential dangers of Prosecco to your teeth. This is partly due to the fact that Prosecco can be damaging to your teeth. But it’s also partly due to the fact that the wine is trendy right now. The truth is that all wine can be damaging to your teeth, so it’s important to consume them with care.
Why Prosecco Can Be Damaging
The basic complaints against Prosecco can’t be disputed: it is acidic and it is sugary-sweet.
Prosecco has a fairly normal acidity for a white wine. We measure acidity using pH. The pH scale goes from 1 to 14, with 7 being neutral. Every point of pH below 7 increases the acidity by a factor of 10. Tooth enamel begins to dissolve at pH 5.5, so anything with a pH lower than that is potentially damaging to your teeth. Prosecco has a fairly typical pH for white wine, about 3.25 is normal. That’s about what we expect for many sodas and 175 times more acidic than is required to break down tooth enamel.
Prosecco is also damaging because it is sweet. However, the amount of sugar isn’t really the concern. There’s only about a teaspoon of sugar in each glass of the sweetest varieties of Prosecco. The biggest danger is that the sweetness of Prosecco makes it easier to drink. That means that you’re more likely to drink more glasses and subject your teeth to more acidity over time, contributing to seriou tooth erosion.
Other Wines May Be Worse
However, it’s unfair to criticise Prosecco for its deliciousness–and that’s really what’s being criticized here. Prosecco is far from the most acidic or the sweetest wine out there. Many sweet white wines have a pH that is in the range of 3.0 or less. In fact, the most acidic Riesling recorded had a pH of 2.73, nearly 600 times the acidity required to dissolve tooth enamel! Now, that may be tasty for some people, but it’s decidedly not good for your teeth!
And while we’re talking about the damaging effects of wines, we can’t let red wines off the hook. Although they tend to be less acidic (a good Pinot Noir may have a pH of 3.8, barely 50 times more than will dissolve your enamel), they also carry staining compounds. These may not damage your teeth in and of themselves, but some people damage their teeth trying to remove them. (Tip: professional teeth whitening can remove these stains without damaging teeth.)
Enjoy Wine without Risking Your Teeth
But do you have to give up wine to save your teeth? Of course not. However, there are some good tips to make sure your wine habit doesn’t make you a habitual visitor to our office.
First, enjoy wine in moderation. This is always a good principle, right? So no matter how tasty that Prosecco may be, you shouldn’t polish off the whole bottle yourself. It’s better with friends, anyway.
Second, chase wine with water. Over time, your saliva will naturally neutralize the acidity of wine, but rinsing with water can help. If you want, you can just rinse and spit, but actually drinking the water will help you avoid dehydration, which can also contribute to acidic conditions in your mouth.
Third, cheese is a good pairing with wine not just because of the flavor. It can neutralize the acidity and protect your teeth.
And if your wine habit has damaged your teeth, we offer many restorative dentistry procedures to restore the health and beauty of your teeth.