Patterns of tooth surface loss among winemakers.
There are a few documented case studies on the adverse effect of wine on both dental hard and soft tissues. Professional wine tasting could present some degree of increased risk to dental erosion. Alcoholic beverages with a low pH may cause erosion, particularly if the attack is of long duration, and repeated over time. The purpose of this study was to compare the prevalence and severity of tooth surface loss between winemakers (exposed) and their spouses (non-exposed). Utilising a cross-sectional, comparative study design, a clinical examination was conducted to assess caries status; the presence and severity of tooth surface loss; staining (presence or absence); fluorosis and prosthetic status. The salivary flow rate, buffering capacity and pH were also measured. Thirty-six persons, twenty-one winemakers and fifteen of their spouses participated in the study. It was possible to show that there was a difference in terms of the prevalence and severity of tooth surface loss between the teeth of winemakers and those who are not winemakers. The occurrence of tooth surface loss amongst winemakers was highly likely due to frequent exposure of their teeth to wine. Frequent exposure of the teeth to wine, as occurs among wine tasters, is deleterious to enamel, and constitutes an occupational hazard. Erosion is an occupational risk for wine tasters.