Recently, prosecco has attracted media attention for all the wrong reasons. First there were threats of a global shortage and now we’re being warned about the damage it can wreak on our smiles. Brits quaffed 40 million litres of prosecco in 2017, so as a nation of fizz lovers should we be concerned about the latest headlines?
Is prosecco bad for your teeth?
Prosecco contains sugar, carbonic acid and alcohol – all of which are terrible for teeth. So, the short answer is, yes, prosecco will damage your teeth if you drink enough of it. However, the focus on prosecco (as the Italians have rightly pointed out!) is slightly unfair. Champagne and cava are equally bad for your teeth – and cocktails can be even worse.
Now for the slightly longer answer. With sugary, acidic food and drinks, dentists aren’t so concerned about the quantity you’re consuming. We’re interested in how frequently you’re enjoying them. Purely from the perspective of your teeth, it’s better to quickly drink a glass of fizz than leisurely sip it over the course of an evening.
Inconveniently, prosecco is best enjoyed at a more leisurely pace and often we’ll enjoy more than one glass. This means your teeth can easily spend a whole evening bathed in sugars and acid, which overtime can cause damage in the form of tooth decay, acid erosion and gum recession.
Your own saliva is an excellent defence against tooth decay, helping to neutralise acidity, reharden enamel and wash away sugars. It needs at least 30 minutes to work its magic though. So, if you’re ‘out for a few’ it might not get the chance, increasing your risk of the infamous ‘prosecco smile’ a.k.a. tooth decay.
How to protect your smile
The best form of defence is to ditch prosecco and other sugary/acidic beverages altogether. Easier said than done though, so here are some more realistic tips on how to limit damage to your smile:
1. Drinking prosecco through a straw will help to spare your front teeth, although it may not be the most glamorous way to enjoy a glass of bubbly.
2. While we don’t condone ‘downing’ prosecco by any means, the faster you drink it the sooner your teeth can start to recover.
3. Give your hard-working saliva a hand and chew sugar-free gum to help neutralise any acidity. Drinking a glass of water can also help to wash away any traces of prosecco and increase saliva flow.
4. Don’t brush your teeth straight after enjoying prosecco. While your enamel is still soft it will be more susceptible to damage, so wait at least 30 minutes.
We hope this clears up the facts from the headlines and helps you to enjoy your fizz! Sensibly, of course.