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Your prosecco habit could be ruining your teeth

When she's not writing, Claire Gillespie can most often be found wiping snotty noses, picking up Lego, taking photos of her cat or doing headstands.

Dentists reveal the growth of the 'prosecco smile' and warn that the popular drink could lead to tooth decay

From SheKnows UK

Over the last few years our prosecco habit has reached new heights. In 2014 it overtook Champagne in terms of supermarket sales, with a whopping 28 million bottles purchased — double the previous year's sales. 

More: 8 tips for drinking wine without ruining your teeth

Prosecco appeals to drinkers for many reasons: it's a much cheaper alternative to Champagne, it's less calorific than lots of other alcoholic drinks (80 calories per standard 125 millilitre flute) and it has a slight sweetness for those who like their drinks on the sweet side.

However the sparkling element of prosecco that makes it stand out from flat white wines is something fans of the fizz might have to start worrying about.

One dentist, Dr. Mervyn Druian of the London Centre for Cosmetic Dentistry, told the Daily Mail that dentists see so many women whose teeth enamel has been worn away by prosecco that they've dubbed it the "prosecco smile."

"These are women who take pride in their appearance and live otherwise healthy lifestyles," said Dr. Druian. "They don't realise the damage they're doing to their teeth or their insides."

The dentist warns that while many women believe they are looking after their teeth by avoiding non-alcoholic fizzy drinks they’re completely forgetting that prosecco contains bubbles too.

More: Videos showing serious dental cleanings are now trending on YouTube

So what's the problem with prosecco? First of all it contains about a teaspoon of sugar per glass. This isn't as much as fizzy drinks like cola and lemonade but still enough to increase the risk of tooth decay.

Also the bubbles in prosecco contain high levels of highly acidic carbon dioxide. This acid attacks and erodes the enamel in the teeth, which makes them weaker and more susceptible to decay.

While all sparkling wines can be harmful to teeth, prosecco is worse than Champagne or cava because the grape it is made from has a higher level of sugar.

What can you do if you don't want to ditch the prosecco?

  • Invest in an enamel pro-repair toothpaste for sensitive teeth.
  • Brush your teeth properly after drinking — but not immediately after, when they are at their most soft and sensitive.
  • Use a straw when drinking prosecco to avoid it coming into contact with your teeth.
  • Drink less prosecco and intersperse alcoholic drinks with water, swilling the water around your teeth before swallowing.
  • Switch to alcohol without those damaging bubbles as often as possible, sticking to wine rather than spirits (red wine contains less sugar than white wine).
  • Chew sugar-free gum to stimulate saliva and protect teeth.

Businesswoman Karen Williams, 34, is one prosecco fan who was shocked to discover the harm her favourite tipple had done to her teeth.

"I was dumbfounded to discover what was causing the sensitivity in my teeth," she said. "I was so delighted to find such a cheap and low-calorie alternative to Champagne but, as the saying goes, if it's too good to be true it usually is. I've now stopped drinking it at home, and when I'm out, I try to persuade my friends to buy something different."
For more advice on dental care visit the British Dental Health Foundation.

More: 8 things you can do to make your next teeth cleaning less painful

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