Brunch is a great meal for a special occasion. It’s a meal that most of us don’t get to enjoy on a regular basis. This makes it an ideal candidate for meeting with friends to mark an occasion. Plus, it’s a meal that lets everyone sleep in–or exercise–before meeting, so nobody has to disrupt their morning schedule to enjoy the meeting. It’s associated both with the upper crust (though not as strongly as tea) and with the languid pace of life in years gone by. This makes it easy to make a bottomless brunch into an all-day activity.
Unfortunately, while this might be good for your social group and good for your mental health, it might not be so good for your teeth. Here’s why.
Although people can drink many different things at brunch, nothing is more strongly associated with the modern brunch culture than the mimosa. Mimosas are an easy cocktail–a mix of a sparkling wine with a citrus juice. The classic is Champagne and orange juice, but modern variations include wines like Prosecco, Sekt, Espumoso, and even red sparkling wines like Lambrusco. They might also include other juices like grapefruit or lemonade.
A mimosa has a nice crisp flavor and is very easy-drinking, which makes it perfect for brunch. However, it does have the problem that it’s very acrid. Most Champagne has a pH of around 3. With the orange juice, most mimosas probably have a pH of 3.5 or less. Since your tooth enamel starts to break down around 5.5, and since the pH scale is logarithmic, this means that a mimosa is about 100 times stronger than necessary to eat away your tooth enamel. As you sip away at the mimosa, you will find that it’s steadily eroding your tooth enamel.
Another problem is that the classic brunch menu tends to be high in sugars. Brunch often includes standard breakfast fare like crepes, pancakes, waffles, and French toast, all with sweet syrup. It may also include dozens of different types of pastries, including donuts, danishes, turnovers, and scones. To try to imbue the brunch with an air of healthy lightness, people often accent this with fruits.
Unfortunately, this makes a meal that is full of sugar. Everything we’ve listed above is high in sugar (yes, including the fruit, which is not only sugary–it’s acidic, too). Sugar feeds the oral bacteria that cause cavities, which means your brunch can be jumpstarting your tooth decay.
A Long Lingering Meal
As we mentioned above, one of the best things about brunch is its relaxed pace. Many people think nothing of spending a few hours around the brunch table, nibbling and sipping their way from late morning through a lazy afternoon.
Unfortunately, the only thing worse than acid and sugar for your teeth is lingering over them. The longer your mouth stays acidic, the more damage to your teeth. If you eat a sweet treat, oral bacteria can get saturated, and may only produce a certain amount of acid. However, if you spread those sweet treats out over time, the oral bacteria can maximize their utilization of the sugar by reproducing over each generation, creating a larger and larger oral bacteria population that can then consume more sugar and produce more acid.
Protect Your Teeth from Brunch
You don’t have to give up brunch if you want to keep your teeth healthy, but you do have to try to be smart about how you enjoy your brunch. First, intersperse your mimosas with water. Ideally, drink some water to rinse your mouth after each sip of mimosa, but if you can’t manage that regularity, take a break between mimosas to enjoy some water.
Second, concentrate your sugary treats to one part of the meal. If there are sweet foods on the brunch menu, try to eat them all at around the same time. Don’t space them out over the entire meal.
Finally, make regular dental appointments. We can assess the level of damage to your teeth, and if we see that you’re starting to show damage from your brunch habits, we can recommend that you make changes. And if the damage is already done, we can restore damaged teeth with tooth-colored fillings, inlays and onlays, or dental crowns.