What does wine do to teeth? That's a surprisingly complex question and not one with a clear answer. But as we approach Valentine’s Day, a day where Americans spend around $8.6 million on wine, a brief review of the benefits and potential risks wine poses for our oral health.
Is Wine Good for Oral Health?
Several studies suggest wine has oral health benefits including:
- Reducing the adhesion of pathogens to teeth
- Reducing the presence of Streptococci, a bacterium that contributes to tooth decay
- Having antimicrobial benefits
Because wine has antimicrobial and antibacterial properties, it can help reduce risks of tooth decay. Of course, so too can brushing your teeth - and that doesn’t come with the potential oral health risks of wine, such as:
- Accelerated enamel erosion
- Exposure of dentin, the yellowish substance underneath the enamel
- A general darkening of the teeth
Wine is incredibly acidic. Like soda, the acids in wine get to work right away at breaking down enamel. Once enamel has been eaten away, it will not come back. This increases risks for:
- Tooth decay and infection
- Tooth sensitivity
- Tooth discoloration
Dentin, the substance underneath your enamel, is yellow in color. When there is no enamel to cover the dentin, teeth simply look yellow.
Yellow teeth may not be the biggest cosmetic issue with wine consumption. Red wine clings to plaque. Plaque, when left in place, will harden into tartar within 24 hours. Tartar is very difficult to remove and, if it is holding dark colors against your teeth, your smile will darken and lose its luster as a result.
Can I Drink Wine and Keep a Healthy Smile?
You can drink wine and keep a healthy smile, but it may take some work. Here are a few steps to minimize the damage wine can do to teeth:
- Drink water while drinking wine. Before, during, and after. Water will help wash the color away from teeth
- Brush your teeth, but not right away. Because wine is acidic, it is best to wait at least 30 minutes after drinking to brush your teeth
- Don’t forget to floss. Wine sticks to plaque. Plaque sticks in between teeth. Unless removed, it will harden into tartar
- Visit us every six months. Wine drinker or no, visiting our office for professional cleanings and evaluations is essential for peak oral health
And remember, moderation is key. Limit your wine intake to no more than five glasses a week to help prevent tooth staining and enamel erosion.
Are you ready to make your appointment? Call 201-384-9292 to schedule your next visit. Located in Oradell, Oradell Family Dental welcomes patients from all surrounding areas of New Jersey.