Don’t shoot the messenger y’all. We love our bubbly just as much as the next person, but sadly, sipping on prosecco could be doing a number on your teeth and causing some serious tooth decay. Ugh, we know; this is totally the worst news ever.
Prosecco appeals to a lot of us for many reasons: It’s cheaper than Champagne, it’s less calorific than lots of other alcoholic drinks (80 calories per a standard-size flute) and it has just the right amount of sweetness.
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.
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” — and the reality of said smile is not nearly as cute as it sounds.
“These are women who take pride in their appearance and live otherwise healthy lifestyles,” said Druian. “They don’t realize the damage they’re doing to their teeth or their insides.”
Druian warns that while many women believe they are looking after their teeth by avoiding nonalcoholic fizzy drinks (like soda), they’re completely forgetting that prosecco contains bubbles too.
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 sodas 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’s made from has a higher amount of sugar. Not good news, folks.
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.
Originally published March 2016. Updated April 2017.