Thursday, January 8, 2009

Dental Hazards

I’ve been in New York City all week, tasting Austrian (and now Loire Valley) wines for Wine & Spirits magazine. As anyone who’s ever tasted vast quantities of high-acid wines at one time knows, dental health is one of the major casualties of the freak show that is professional wine tasting.

Here at the magazine, I generally taste between 100 and 120 wines a day, five days a week. Now, the state of my teeth and gums is not what you might term “magnificent”, “outstanding”, or “impeccable”. They’re healthy enough, but they would never be models of perfection for aspiring students of dentistry. This is not for lack of attention—I brush religiously with a soft toothbrush, I floss fastidiously and I try to remember to see the dentist for checkups whenever I should. But perhaps the steady onslaught of wine is simply too much punishment for my teeth to handle. It probably has something to do with genetics as well, unfortunately.

This week, I’ve been using a fluoride rinse each morning before my tastings, and it seems to be helping considerably. My mouth feels much less beaten up after each tasting session, and when I taste a group of 40 red wines at a time, they leave less of a stain on my teeth than usual, which I interpret (from my distinctly non-dentistry-savvy perspective) as being a positive sign for oral well-being. Not quite sure if this does anything in the way of gum protection, though, which is a crucial piece of the puzzle.

Anyone have any advice for tooth and gum health in regards to winetasting? I know that at least one of you out there must be a practicing dentist or have some secret dentistry special forces training or something to that effect....


thor iverson said...

Sensodyne ProNamel, a toothpaste allegedly designed for teeth that are regularly in high-acid environments, has helped a little bit. And every little bit helps.

Anonymous said...

Supplement your diet with B vits and the new craze of Vit D sure can't hurt. Certainly can make your gums much healthier.


TWG said...

A quick fix mentioned in F&W:

Some Science:

My dentist recommends the ProNamel which I use but I'm just a wine drinker not a taster. Hope some of these links help.

genevelyn said...

This isn't a method you are likely to use, but sipping from a straw cuts back on staining/gum abuse and still delivers the wine to your palate. Then, you can decide whether or not to let the wine interact with your gums.

Jeremy said...

Dentists in the US can use a sealant on your teeth that can reduce staining and decay, it works wonders without taking away fromt he need of good hygiene the rest of the time.

Also, try brushing your teeth with sodium bicarbonate occasionally (dip your toothbrush in water first and then in the bicarbonate, keeping it fairly dry). While it tastes salty and nasty, it both de-acidifies and has a good mechanical, light abrasion effect that does wonders for tannins removal. I then follow it up with a more gum targeted toothpaste and it does well by me.

Henri Vasnier said...

Ask your dentist whether Colgate Prevident 5000 or an equivalent generic would be helpful to you. This is a prescription (required at least in US) topical fluoride product that comes in toothpaste and rinse forms. You just substitute it for your regular toothpaste; it doesn't add any steps to your usual mouth care routine.

Anonymous said...

When I visit Champagne for my regular 4 week buying/tasting trips, I cannot survive without 'Recaldent Tooth Mousse'and "Recaldent Chewing Gum'. Never brush your teeth at night - only in the mornings.

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victor.pugatschew said...

Here is a link to the product


Samantha Dugan said...

This is such an amazingly helpful post! I find that when I have been tasting a lot or when I am in Burgundy my teeth get ravaged by acidity...going to be working my way through this list of tips.

Tista said...

Excellent tips!
Careful there Peter, that your blog doesn't turn from "Wine and Arsenal" to "Wine and Health".

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