According to an article published in the latest edition of the Australian Dental Journal, demineralisation occurs as early as 10 minutes after the tooth enamel has been exposed to wine. Wine has pH values of 3 and 4, similar in acidity to most carbonated flavoured drinks.
The enamel is the outer surface of your teeth. You put your teeth through many daily stressors like chewing, biting, crunching and grinding – enamel helps protect your teeth.
Demineralization is the earliest stage of tooth decay. When your teeth’s enamel is exposed to sugars, starch and acids, a sticky film of bacteria called plaque forms on the surface of teeth. Over time, the plaque attacks the enamel, causing loss of minerals. In the early stages, white spots can be seen on the teeth’s surface. If left unchecked, cavities develop.
Even if you are not a professional wine taster or a wine judge, imagine the harm it causes your teeth each time you indulge in a drink or two! Associate Professor Sue Bastian from the University of Adelaide, School of Agriculture recommends rinsing with water first before cleaning your teeth with some toothpaste on your finger. She says “Cleaning with a brush when teeth are soft runs the risk of damaging the enamel.”
In addition, you can follow our tips below for healthy teeth while enjoying your wine:
- Brush your teeth an hour before you head down to happy hour. Wine, especially red wine can stain plaque on your teeth. Brushing will help to remove some plaque and minimise wine staining.
- Drink water. Better yet, drink sparkling water. Swish water in-between sips of wine to allow the bubbles to help clean your teeth.
- Order a salad. Besides being a good source of vitamins and minerals, vegetables have high water content which dilutes acids and sugars. Chomping on greens also stimulate the flow of saliva. Saliva rebalances the pH level in the mouth, slows down mineral loss from teeth and allows repair to take place.
- Visit your dentist once every 6 months for check-ups and cleaning. Your dentist will be able to identify any dental problems before it worsens and becomes irreversible. With regular dental check-ups, it is easier to maintain the condition of your oral health. Addressing issues before they get complicated will be more economical in the long term.