Common knowledge teaches that drinking a glass of red wine at dinner is good for your health.
Common knowledge also once taught that the earth was flat.
The polyphenols in red wine were once believed to increase HDL cholesterol and strengthen artery linings. Those findings were based on studies interpreted through the lens of the lipid hypothesis, the dubious low-fat, low-cholesterol theory now in contention by the medical community. One particular polyphenol – resveratrol – reduced inflammation and risk of diabetes in mice. However, the Mayo Clinic pointed out that a human would have to chug 1,000 liters of red wine a day to ingest the same amount administered to the mice.
One study even suggests that red wine can improve oral hygiene. The theory supposes that the antioxidant polyphenols in red wine could half the formation of bacteria in the biofilm on teeth.
Yet the mouth of the recreational wine drinker may turn the color of old bruises, ranging from pale yellow to deep purple.
But how much is permanent? Is red wine bad for your teeth?
In a word – yes.
The culprit is acid. Acid, contrary to Hollywood’s misperceptions, is not necessarily a flesh-eating green liquid. Strictly speaking, PH is a measure of the acidity or basicity of an aqueous solution (that means when dissolved in water). The PH logarithmic scale ranges from 0 (heavy-duty battery acid) to 14 (industrial drain cleaner). Solutions low on the PH scale are acids; solutions high are bases. The human body and water both have a PH level of neutral, around six
The PH of red wine hovers between 3.0 and 3.5. Wine’s corrosive effect encourages bacterial growth, which foments cavity development and bad breath. Adding sugar or carbonation only worsens the effect. In severe cases, chronic erosion will expose the underlying dentin of the teeth, which has a pale yellow appearance. Such naked teeth will be highly sensitive and may require root canals.
But can red wine and white teeth coexist?
Proper oral hygiene can alleviate many of the deteriorating effects. Brush 2-3 times a day, and not immediately after eating. And as the French know, eating cheese with wine mitigates the acid. Sip, do not slosh. Maybe even use a straw.
Or better yet, ask a qualified dentist. Chat with Dr. Gurgen (George) Sahakyan, a practicing Glendale dentist since 2003. The team at Smile Makeover LA can repair smiles and dish out friendly advice. Drop by today. We’ll talk – perhaps over a glass of wine.