Is Prosecco your guilty pleasure? Unfortunately, those delicious glasses of bubbly could be wreaking havoc on your teeth.
Bandon Dental is warning Irish consumers about the growth in the 'Prosecco Smile' or 'Prosecco Teeth' -a particular kind of tooth decay caused by Prosecco consumption.
"Prosecco is a very acidic drink-it is around 200 times as acidic as what is required to break down tooth enamel", said a dentistry expert at Bandon Dental. "By just consuming one glass you're putting your teeth at risk."
According to the expert, Prosecco contains about one teaspoon of sugar, which makes consumers inclined to drink more of it. Over time, Prosecco drinkers can see a white line form under their gums, which will feel soft when touched. This white line is tooth decay and can result in fillings or other dental problems in future.
Thankfully there are some steps you can take to limit the damage of Prosecco rather than giving up the bubbles altogether. "First off, you can use a straw as this will reduce the amount of contact between the actual drink and your teeth. Have some cheese between drinks in order to increase the flow of saliva in the mouth which ultimately neutralises the harmful acids," says the dental expert. "It's also important to remember to only brush your teeth around an hour after having your last drink," she says. "Your enamel will be weakened by the Prosecco, so if you brush right away the saliva won't have had enough time to remineralise and protect your teeth, leading to damage."
According to Bandon Dental, it's also possible to reduce tooth decay by choosing more dentally friendly-drinks. "In a lot of cases, it's the actual mixer, not the alcohol itself that's doing the most damage. Coke, lemonade, sugary syrups and orange juice have high sugar and acidic content which will harm the enamel of your teeth, she says. "Similarly sweet liquors like Malibu fall into a similar category, as they contain far more sugar than gin or vodka for example." Bandon Dental suggest gin & tonic as a safer alcoholic option, as these clear liquids minimise the risk of staining and also contain lower acidity. "Light beers like Coors Light are also a safer bet as they too have lower acidity and higher water content than other drinks."
Lastly, it's bad news for Guinness lovers too; "Heavy, dark beers like Guinness may stain your teeth, especially if you're regularly consuming them" says the expert. "Even if you brush regularly, your teeth can still appear stained and aged."