Q: Do high-acidity wines cause gum damage?—Gerry, Chicago, Ill.
A: Wines with higher acidity tend to fall under the white wine category, where pH levels are closer to 3. But you don't have to stop drinking your favorite wines in order to protect gum tissue. Dental experts suggest that although acidity in excess can be a concern to oral health, high-acid wines are not a big threat to your gums.
Calgary-based dentist Dr. Volinder Dhesi says that wines with higher acidity do not pose a problem for gum health, but it is worth noting that if someone experiences tooth grinding at night, the tooth damage can be accelerated in an acidic environment.
"Acidity tends to temporarily soften enamel," Dhesi told Wine Spectator. "So it’s important to visit your dentist on a regular basis to ensure that you are not experiencing premature tooth or gum loss as a result."
Protecting your teeth while enjoying wine isn’t particularly complicated, but there are some simple precautions to take. For example, wait at least 20 minutes after drinking before brushing your teeth to allow the pH in your mouth to balance out. Other techniques include swishing with water to stabilize pH or chewing sugar-free xylitol gum, which helps kill bacteria and bring pH back to normal levels.
Consult your dentist for a better understanding of how wine consumption may impact your tooth and gum health.—Shawn Zylberberg