Dr Sahil Patel, Cosmetic Dentist & Founder of Marylebone Smile Clinic explains why drinking Prosecco can have damaging effects on our teeth, and his advice for enjoying a festive tipple, with top tips for looking after your teeth this Christmas.
The festive season is a time for celebration, family gatherings and switching off, however these few days of celebrations could lead to much bigger problems with our teeth if indulging in glasses of Prosecco. Although all alcohol is bad for your teeth, Prosecco is the worst of them all.
Dr Sahil Patel, Founder of Marylebone Smile Clinic, explains why drinking Prosecco can have such effects on our teeth;
“Amongst dentists, it has been reported anecdotally that dental decay affecting the front incisors spikes during the festive season. Decay is seldom present in front teeth, due to us being able to access them easily for cleaning and fluoride exposure”
“Prosecco poses a unique problem in that it is a relatively sweet tasting, ubiquitous, affordable, high sugar, acidic and carbonated drink. All these aspects make it extremely popular and accessible in large amounts for everyone. It has now become the sole drink for some during celebrations”
“The problem is the constant sugar exposure in the mouth creates a situation where decay can affect the front teeth, possibly requiring fillings and/or cosmetic work later on in the new year. Prosecco has a dangerous potency to cause decay, hence the term Prosecco teeth”
“If you want to enjoy a festive tipple, I recommend drinking a clear liquor which is less acidic and contains less sugars which in turn, will cause less damage to your teeth.”
10 Tips for Looking After Your Teeth at Christmas
- Christmas rush – Get ahead and book your appointments/treatments around September or January when there is lots of availability. If you are reading this now, it’s too late!
- Prosecco Teeth – be aware of this phenomenon where high intake of sugary and fizzy drinks around this time creates a spike in dental decay. Try to control your intake to no more than 4 exposures within 24 hours.
- Christmas Dinner – Take it easy! Many dental accidents occur over Christmas just because we can be a little overzealous with our food and cutlery.
- Drinks – Try to avoid ice in your drinks during Christmas dinner. The hot and cold contrast is commonplace, but dentally it can create stress fractures within the enamel.
- Sticky Tape – please avoid cutting tape with your teeth! A short and focused contact between the top and bottom set of teeth can cause micro-fractures, chips and accelerate long-term wear.
- Presents – why not gift someone an electric toothbrush for Christmas? The World Health Organisation lists toothbrushes as one of the most life enhancing inventions in modern society.
- Oral hygiene – Be aware of DIY products you gift/receive that claim to replace the input from a healthcare professional. A rule of thumb is to avoid everything other than toothbrushes, floss, interdentalbrushes, water picks and toothpaste, unless under the guidance of a professional.
- Pets – Family pets often have as good a time as we do in the festive season. Try to balance treats with foods that improve their gum health and/or stay on top of cleaning your pet’s teeth.
- Party Tricks – Bottle opening using teeth is still a commonly performed feat. Needless to say we do not recommend it!
- Air pressure – If you are planning a trip abroad, be aware that any new dental work or dormant infections can flare up during in-cabin air pressure, or underwater if Scuba diving. The positive or negative change in ambient air pressure can create expansion/contraction of tissues and air pockets.