If you enjoy a glass or two of wine now and then, you may have thought red wine would be worse for your teeth after the Merlot-stained smile stared back at you in the mirror. But, scientists say white wine is actually worse for your teeth, damaging your tooth enamel after just one glass.
According to the BBC, the pH levels of the wine is the culprit, eating away at the enamel. How long the wine is in contact with your teeth may also be a factor, but scientists don’t recommend drinking faster to lessen contact time.
Instead, they suggest pairing the wine with cheese or switching your wine with a red, which has been shown to be more healthful anyway in moderation.
Yes, eating cheese with your wine may lessen the damaging effects of the acid. This is because cheese is so concentrated with calcium that it fights off the acidic effects of the white wine.
Scientists soaked teeth in white wine for a day and found a loss of calcium and phosphorus, “to depths of up to 60 micrometers in the enamel surface, which the researchers say is significant.”
Of all whites, Rieslings seem to be the most damaging because they have the lowest pH levels. Reds like Pinot Noir would be a better choice, say scientists with Johannes Gutenburg University.
Also, the scientists say brushing immediately after indulging could actually make matters worse. This is because your toothbrush could essentially brush away the enamel that the wine has loosened. Instead, they suggest you eat something with it and wait at least 30 minutes before going after your teeth with a toothbrush.
Not a new concept to wine drinkers—food pairing is important. While eating with your wine can lessen the damage, not all foods are helpful. Acidic foods, like the strawberries you might pair with champagne, can actually make things worse. Calcium-rich foods are best. Consuming wine alongside food, rather than on its own, means the saliva you produce as you chew helps to neutralise its acidity and limits its erosive potential. And leaving time before brushing teeth gives the enamel a chance to recover from the acid attack and makes it less susceptible to being brushed away.
As always, drink in moderation, preferably no more than 2 glasses a day.