Wine buffs in teeth of a dilemma

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The Independent Online
Wine buffs risk finding that all they have left in their mouth is a sensitive palate, dentists warn today. Slooshing wine around the mouth as the experts do can cause serious erosion to tooth enamel.

The British Dental Association highlighted the case of a 52-year-old wine merchant referred to Guy's Hospital, London. His teeth were so eroded that the fillings were protruding.

The problem is not tooth decay caused by bacteria, but acid in the wine eating away the enamel.

The wine merchant had begun tasting wine professionally in 1959, and had tasted an average of 30 wines a day. When he first went to Guy's in 1982, it was calculated that his teeth had been subjected to 245,000 acidic exposures over the previous 23 years.

Reporting on the case in the British Dental Journal, dentists from the hospital said tooth erosion was probably an occupational hazard of wine tasting.

A small volume of wine is rinsed around the mouth to reach every area of the palate before it is spat out. Unfortunately, this also soaks the teeth in acid.