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Wine tasters’ teeth at risk of rapid erosion

Acid in wine can make teeth vulnerable to erosion “within minutes”, with professional wine tasters most at risk, according to new research.

Tooth enamel can become vulnerable to erosion after just a few minutes of wine acid exposure.

The University of Adelaide’s School of Dentistry replicated the short, multiple exposures to wine acid normally experienced by wine tasters as part of a study into the effects of acid in wine on teeth.

As reported by, the study found that just 10 one-minute episodes of wine tasting was enough to erode tooth enamel, with teeth becoming vulnerable within a few minutes of wine acid exposure.

“With professional wine tasters and winemakers tasting anywhere from 20 to 150 wines per day, and wine judges tasting up to 200 wines per day during wine shows, this represents a significant risk to their oral health,” said Dr Sarbin Ranjitkar, from the University’s School of Dentistry.

“Our results reinforce the need for people working in the profession to take early, preventative measures, in consultation with their dentists, to minimise the risks to their teeth.”

Preventative measures include applying “remineralising agents in the form of calcium, phosphate and fluoride to coat and protect the teeth” the day before a tasting, according to Sue Bastian, associate professor at the University’s School of Agriculture, Food and Wine.

“The morning of a wine tasting, we advise not brushing the teeth or, if that’s too unpalatable, chewing gum to stimulate saliva, which is naturally protective”, she said. “After a wine tasting, the teeth are likely to be much softer, so we recommend rinsing with water, and when it comes time to clean the teeth, just putting some toothpaste on your finger and cleaning with that. Cleaning with a brush when teeth are soft runs the risk of damaging the enamel.”

The results of the study were published in the Australian Dental Journal.

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