It’s been said that ‘you are what you eat’, but when it comes to
oral hygiene, you are what you drink. And if you drink a lot of coffee and wine,
you may be putting your smile at risk.
When most people worry about the ‘damage’ done to teeth by their favorite beverages
– coffee and wine – they generally think in terms of the unsightly stains left behind.
Now, staining, in and of itself, does not necessarily pose a true risk to the health
of your teeth or your gums. But if you have stained teeth, it probably means that
you’ve been ‘playing hooky’ when it comes to seeing your cosmetic dentist in Huntington Beach and you may have unhealthy plaque on your teeth.
When plaque forms and hardens, it causes a calculus build-up known as tartar. Tartar
is more easily discolored by coffee and wine than healthy enamel and that turns
your smile from white to yellow or brown. But there’s more to the problem than just
discoloration. Plaque and tartar irritate the gums, leading to gingivitis and
That’s just the beginning...
Coffee is an acidic drink. That acidity is just as harmful to the health of your
teeth as it is to the lining of your stomach, eating away the surface bit by bit.
The more coffee you drink, the more acidic your mouth becomes. When that happens,
calcium and phosphate can be pulled directly out of your tooth enamel.
The problem is that people have a tendency to drink coffee all day long, often adding
a spoonful of sugar or two of sugar into each cup. And even those who are conscientious
about brushing after meals often don’t think to grab a toothbrush after those caffeine
‘fixes.’ The result is a double-whammy: the acid breaks down the structure of the
teeth and the sugar promotes decay.
Can dentures be far behind???
Wine can be equally destructive. White wine has been shown to lead to the loss
of tooth enamel, a condition which cannot be reversed. According to
one study at Johannes Gutenberg University in Germany, adult teeth soaked in white
wine for a day lost calcium as well as phosphorous up to a depth of 60mm in the
enamel surface of the teeth. (Red wine is not known to promote rapid tooth erosion)
Are there any safeguards to help prevent tooth enamel loss without having to
give up your favorite vintage? Yes!
One tip is to be sure you eat when you drink.
Eating while drinking promotes the production of saliva, this in turn fights against
the erosion of tooth enamel. Cheese is an ideal food to pair with white wine,
for flavor and dental health. Cheese is a rich in calcium, which can counteract
the acidity level of white wines.
And while it may seem counter-intuitive, you should refrain from brushing your
teeth immediately after drinking white wine. Brushing too soon after
consuming a very acidic beverage may damage the tooth’s structure, says Mark Wolff,
a professor and chairman of the department of comprehensive care at NYU’s College
of Dentistry. “Saliva has the capability of re-mineralizing the tooth structure
and neutralizing damage, so give it 40 minutes to an hour before you brush your
teeth,” he says.
The good news is that despite the negative effects they may have, it’s not really
necessary to cut down on white wine or coffee if you enjoy them. But it is necessary
to pay more attention to your dental hygiene.
Coupled with professional cleanings,
timely brushing and regular flossing will allow you to eat, drink, and be merry
without worrying about tooth or gum disease.
Schedule an appointment today with our dentist in Huntington Beach ... Call (714) 848-4247