Many of us can relate – it’s was a tough day at work and the thing you look forward to most is putting your feet up and unwinding at home with a nice glass of red wine. Perhaps it’s an occasional treat, but for some, wine is one of the more habitual beverages.
Despite being a frequent favourite, at the back of your mind, you can see your local dentist in Rosanna shaking their head in disapproval. So, what exactly is this post work routine doing to your teeth???
One of the important components of wine is its acidity. Most have a pH of between 2.9 and 3.9. Many other commonly consumed beverages are acidic as well, notably soft drinks, fruit juice, sports and energy drinks. Unfortunately, this acidity is what can soften your tooth structure, and make it vulnerable to erosion and decay. Your saliva is very important in these situations. It contains many protective elements to help fight against damage.
If you think of your teeth as being made up of many individual building blocks, it is easier to visualise the protective role of saliva. During times of acid attack, these building blocks in your teeth start to weaken and crumble, thus leaving the tooth in a vulnerable state. Saliva contains a reservoir of these building blocks and can help to restore them at times of weakness. This is referred to as remineralisation. Saliva also has elements which help it to buffer acidity in the mouth and work towards achieving a neutral environment in the mouth.
So if you love a glass of wine, what are some good tips to keep your teeth strong?
- Drink during meals – when you are eating in between sips of wine, you are stimulating saliva production which help with buffering acids and remineralising weakened enamel.
- Eat foods which stimulate saliva – hard cheese, crunchy fruits and vegetables encourage chewing and thus, saliva production. Dairy products like cheese and milk also have the added benefit of containing calcium which is beneficial in the fight against tooth decay
- Rinse your mouth with water, but do not brush straight after – your teeth are at the weakest straight after being exposed to acid. So if you brush straight after you are more likely to damage the softened enamel, before your saliva has had a chance to neutralise the acids. Waiting at least 30 minutes will also give your teeth a chance to absorb some calcium and regain strength. Rinsing your mouth will help to stop prolonged contact of the acids with your teeth, not to mention the added benefit of fluoride from your tap water!
So, the next time you sit down to enjoy that much enjoyed glass of wine, consider have some cheddar nearby. There is a bit of science behind this widely recognised pairing.
Furthermore, if you would like more information on the best ways to protect your pearly whites and still enjoy your favourite food and drink, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with the team at Greville Road Medical and Dental. We accept patient walk-ins from surrounding suburbs, outside of Rosanna: Heidelberg, Greensborough, Ivanhoe, Bundoora and more.