WINE AND CHEESE SOIREE: DENTIST’S PERSPECTIVE
Wine and cheese have been one of the most palate-savvy combinations of food and drinks that is known to mankind (So I believe). What amazes me is the innumerable pairings that this combination offers. However, drinking wine like a connoisseur and pairing it with the perfect cheese may take up years of practice before we finally settle down with the one of our choice (Bon Voyage). The journey of exploring the sour, and tangy flavors of the wine with creamy and soft cheese is no easy feat as it sounds. Whether Epoisses would taste better with Madiran or Bourgogne, or it would be a better idea to try Sancerre, are the topics wine aficionados often mull over.
But in this adventure of taste buds, there’s something very important that gets ignored.
If clinking wine glasses is your solace in the daily mundane, chances are your teeth have suffered the consequences. Like tea and coffee, drinking wine can leave behind unattractive stains and have other inevitable negative effects on your mouth like halitosis.
1- Colors and Pigments
The main causes of staining from red wine are pigment-producing substances, chromogens, and tannins, which can adhere to dental enamel leaving unattractive stains.
- Acid Content
Acid is an integral component of wine to create a balanced product. Majorly tartaric and malic acid contributes to a wine’s final body and acidity. The acid softens enamel, outer white protective coating on the teeth, allowing some of its calcium content to leach out, weakening its structure. Though enamel is “the hardest tissue in the human body,” it is highly susceptible to demineralization when the ph level falls below 5.7. Normally the pH in the mouth is between 6.2 to 7 while most wines have a pH between 2.9 and 3.5, meaning a swig of red or white or rose wine can plummet your pH and erode enamel.
When enamel is eventually worn away, yellow dentin and nerves underneath can be exposed, leading to sensitivity, pain, and yellowing of teeth. White wine is more acidic than red wine. As a rule, dry, sparkling wines are the worst of all alcoholic drinks, as the bubbles in them are caused by highly acidic carbon dioxide.
- Enamel Etching
Acids in wine create rough spots and grooves which allow the chromogens and tannins from wine or chemicals in other beverages to penetrate deeper into the enamel and leave hard-to-clean stains with professional cleaning. Usually, teeth whitening is recommended to combat intrinsic staining.
Alcohol dehydrates the body, including the mouth, as it is a diuretic, resulting in reduced saliva flow leading to a buildup of plaque and, inevitably, bad breath.
- Cancer Risk
‘Anyone drinking within the recommended daily limits shouldn’t worry, but binge drinking is a risk factor on its own and, when it is combined with smoking, it increases the risk to 30 times.’