Dentists warn – beware the Prosecco smile this Christmas

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The sun is shining, the carols are playing, and the sparkling drinks are flowing. It’s that festive time of year again, where we tend to over-indulge in all the good things, but prosecco and other sparkling wines could be the major thing to moderate this Christmas for the sake of your teeth.

In an experiment conducted by the Oral Health Foundation in the UK, scientists conducted a study on the impact of prosecco on healthy teeth. The tests showed results where they submerged teeth in prosecco from 48 hours – 14 days. After 48 hours teeth became highly discoloured and rough, and after two weeks, the surface of the tooth dissolved, and the entire tooth crumbled and broke in half. The findings show what dentists have been warning about for years; that sugary soda drinks and bubbly alcoholic drinks can break down your tooth enamel and have long-term permanent damage to teeth if consumed too regularly.

The combination of acidic bubbles, alcohol content and sugar are the perfect combined recipe to erode teeth. 

Over the summer holidays and Christmas day particularly, it’s not uncommon for women, to sip on bubbly drinks all day, and prosecco and cocktails with bubbly soda are a popular choice. While wine has a large amount of sugar in it as well, it’s the combination of the sugar, carbonation, and alcohol that can lead to dramatic sensitivity and enamel erosion.

What is enamel?

Enamel is the substance that protects against the physical and chemical damages to teeth. It’s very tough and the hardest tissue in the body, even tougher than bone. However, as it’s the first defence in your mouth to combat against chemicals and acids, your enamel is prone to lots of wear and tear. Enamel erosion can cause symptoms like sensitivity, teeth staining and in severe cases, cracks and fractures.

Symptoms of tooth enamel erosion can vary dramatically between people.

Most people will show signs of:

  • Increased sensitivity to taste, textures, and temperature
  • Cracks and chips
  • Discolouration
  • Indentations

Another early warning sign might be if you have high sensitivity or pain when you consume hot and cold drinks or exposed to spicy foods and foods high in acidity.

6 tips on how to still be bubbly at Christmas without the bubbles harming your teeth

  • Eat before you decide to party

It might be something you’ve heard before, but it’s easy to forget how simple this step is and how effective it can be. Plan ahead and line your stomach with a light meal before you know you’re going to be drinking. It’s easy to forget when there are lots of spontaneous Christmas drink invites that appear this time of year. Eating before you drink will slow down the release of alcohol in the bloodstream and will help you not to get tipsy too quickly.

Aim for something healthy but starchy with a lean protein, such as a chicken salad sandwich.

  • Dilute your drinks

Try to alternate alcoholic drinks with non-alcoholic ones such as low sugar fruit juice and plain soda water. You can also dilute your alcoholic beverages with these, effectively cutting your alcohol intake in half.

  • Alternate each drink with water

Alcohol can be severely dehydrating especially if you’re in the sun. Try and get into the habit of drinking a glass of water after every alcoholic drink. Not only will it keep your alcohol intake down and hydrate your body it also washes away the acid build-up attacking your teeth.

  • Choose your mixer options wisely

Choose soda and lime or diet tonic water as mixers to keep that waistline in check. Avoid cola all together as the additional caffeine is also damaging. Remember that alcohol contains calories too, so it makes sense to steer clear of sugary mixers. Not only will your teeth thankyou but your waistline will too.

  • Re-hydrate before bed

Drink a glass or two of water before going to bed to ease the effects of dehydration the next morning. Leave a glass by the bed to sip on through the night too.

  • Avoid the hair of the dog

If you do find yourself with a hangover, avoid the hair of the dog, which will only place further stress on your liver and teeth. Opt for plenty of water, herbal tea and fruit juice instead to top up your body’s fluid and sugar levels.

We all deserve a good break over Summer and Christmas, but it’s also a great reminder to start activating a few easy tips into the festive days ahead so you can still have fun and not harm your teeth.

If you’re experiencing any sensitivity or discolouration in your teeth or worried about your tooth enamel, contact us today for an appointment.

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