Professional wine tasters may appear to have one of the world’s best jobs, but a new study has highlighted the potential threat to their teeth.
Researchers at the University of Adelaide found that just 10 one-minute swill-and-spit sessions are enough to soften tooth enamel and make teeth vulnerable to erosion.
The study, published in the Australian Dental Journal, found the acid in most wines would render teeth vulnerable to erosion “within minutes”.
The author of the study, Dr Sarbin Ranjitkar, said professional wine tasters and winemakers sample anything from 20 to 150 wines a day, with judges tasting up to 200 a day during wine shows. These levels of exposure to acid represent a “significant risk to their oral health”, she says.
“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.”
Most expensive bottles of wine in the world
Most expensive bottles of wine in the world
1/10 1. Domaine de la Romanee-Conti Romanee-Conti Grand Cru, Cote de Nuits, France, £8,310
The most expensive wine in the world is described as the perfect Burgundy. The price has been moving upwards over the past three years, so get it while you still can.
2/10 2. Henri Jayer Cros Parantoux, Vosne-Romanee Premier Cru, France, £4,894
Another Burgundy, this one is a collector’s item. It’s also quite popular in Asia.
3/10 3. Egon Muller-Scharzhof Scharzhofberger Riesling Trockenbeerenauslese, Germany, £4,577
The first German wine on the list, this Riesling is produced in the Rheingau vineyard. The 2010 vintage was given a perfect score – 100 out of a 100 – by a major wine critic.
4/10 4. Domaine Leflaive Montrachet Grand Cru, Cote de Beaune, France, £3,716
The highest priced white wine from Le Montrachet, this is also the fourth most highly rated white from the region.
5/10 5. Joh. Jos. Prum Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Trockenbeerenauslese, Germany, £3,415
Another German wine comes in at number five, and critics have rated it as the best white in the region. It has an overall score of 98 on wine-searcher.com – not bad.
6/10 6. Domaine Leroy Musigny Grand Cru, Cote de Nuits, France, £3,379
Another red from the Cote de Nuits, were the Le Musigny vineyard plays a pivotal role in local life – so much so that the village of Chambolle changed its name to Chambolle-Musigny in 1882.
7/10 7. Domaine Georges & Christophe Roumier Musigny Grand Cru, Cote de Nuits, France, £3,202
How about that Cote de Nuits? Another entry from Le Musigny, this is the second highest priced wine from the vineyard. The 2012 vintage was given a score of 98 out of 100 by The Wine Advocate.
8/10 8. Domaine de la Romanee-Conti Montrachet Grand Cru, Cote de Beaune, France, £2,948
This wine has received more awards than any other white in the region. It’s also the most sough after Le Montrachet wine, based on user searches.
9/10 9. Domaine Jean-Louis Chave Ermitage Cuvee Cathelin, Rhone, France £2,403
The Ermitage (or Hermitage) is a rich Syrah-based red wine from the Rhone Valley. Ermitage wine can be traced back to 17th century, when it was an official wine in the courts of King Louis XIII and his successor Louis XIV.
10/10 10. Henri Jayer Echezeaux Grand Cru, Cote de Nuits, France £2,196
Yet another Grand Cru from the Cote de Nuits. Interest in this wine has fallen in recent years, but it’s still popular enough to justify its extraordinary price.
Leta Bester, the founder and director of the London Wine Academy, says the risk of tooth damage is “something you are aware of in the trade”. Ms Bester’s organisation advises tasters not to brush their teeth until at least an hour after a wine tasting as it risks softening the enamel. “We also advise drinking water or milk or eating some cheese to neutralise the acidity.”
Ms Bester says there’s an upside to the high exposure to acid. “My hygienist told me that… wine tasters are actually less likely to have a build-up of plaque on their teeth.”
Associate Professor Sue Bastian, from Adelaide’s School of Agriculture, Food and Wine, said professional wine tasters should apply remineralising agents such as calcium, phosphate and fluoride to their teeth the night before a tasting session. “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 says.
Professor Damien Walmsley, the British Dental Association’s scientific adviser, said occasional drinkers can continue to enjoy a glass of wine. “Social drinkers [should just] limit their intake to mealtimes and avoid sipping for long periods.”Reuse content