Let’s be completely honest; we cannot completely ignore the fact that there are some things that are great for our teeth, and some things that aren’t. As much as we would like to convince ourselves that wine is good for our teeth, it is a relatively well known fact that wines, no matter how fine, are going to have a detrimental effect on our teeth. This puts people like us, who absolutely love wine, in a rather difficult position; do we decide to ignore wine for the rest of our lives because it could do some damage to our teeth, or do we decide to ignore the health problems and continue enjoying the delicious and splendid wines that we have spent years discovering? Or is there a third way?
Well, the first thing you have to do before you even think about making a decision is to understand exactly what it is that wine does to your teeth, and why it is so bad. On the outside of every single one of our teeth is a layer called enamel, which is what protects our teeth from any decay or bacteria. It is the hard exterior shell, if you like, and is what gives our teeth that white sheen. That is, until it starts being attacked by bacteria and sugar. When these are combined they eat away at our enamel like acid, creating holes it in that could eventually become so large as to require fillings. Another aspect of our diet that could damage our enamel is tannins, a type of acid that stains our enamel yellow – and permanently.
Sadly, wine contains a large number of tannins, especially red wine – as does tea, soft drinks, and any acidic fruits such as oranges and lemons. It is impossible to ignore the fact that fine wine can be bad for your teeth, and we all know that dentists will usually go out of their way to ensure that their patients steer clear of anything that will damage their teeth at all, even if the food or drink is their favorite. This is often where dentists and patients have a disagreement, the patient promises (usually grudgingly) to not eat or drink that particular food again, then goes home and promptly does exactly what they said they would not, and at their next check up the dentist immediately knows that they have not been following instructions because of the state of their teeth.
However, there is a different approach. A truly holistic dentist will of course do their utmost to look after their patients’ teeth and give them good advice on how to do so, but they do not focus entirely on the teeth and ignore everything else. They understand that a life well lived is not always one that follows the standard rules about health, and as a holistic dentist treats the body as a whole rather than just looking at the neck upwards, they do not want to prevent people from enjoying their life. Happiness and contentment, after all, are two of the best medicines.
So if you’ve chatted to a holistic dentist and you’re happy to keep drinking fine wine, how can you best look after your teeth? Regular check ups will always help so that they can catch anything really worrying, and if you do develop yellowing teeth then teeth whitening is always an option. At the end of the day though, a holistic dentist will never dictate your life to you; they’ll give you the facts so that you can decide on your own what to do.