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My Latest Occupational Hazard

Our bodies know things, and tell us all the time, but most of the time we choose to ignore them. I eat foie gras and as much as I enjoy it, I can feel the arteries hardening after each bite. Likewise, I've known for a while that spending eight hours tasting several hundred wines is not great for my teeth. When they're Rieslings or Pinot Noir or other wines that tend to have higher acidity levels, my teeth really hurt for the next 24 to 36 hours afterwards. I have to brush gingerly, and anything very cold or hot makes me wince in pain.

Well, like a lot of these things, it's only a matter of time before we come face to face with someone who's willing to tell us just how bad the things we have been doing are for us. For many, it was Supersize Me. For me, it's the latest dental research that shows I'm probably eating away my enamel at rates that approach something like twenty times the normal rate of ordinary citizens. Not that I expect a lot of sympathy, mind you -- I know most people would love to have the problem of tasting so much wine that their teeth enamel might be in danger.

I suppose I can take some small consolation that I stopped drinking canned soda-pop several years ago, and so am probably suffering less damage in that department than most (I was one of those kids who really did drop a tooth in a cup of Coke to see that it really did dissolve over the course of weeks). But I suppose this study is the equivalent of the sadistic dentist in Little Shop of Horrors saying "you don't want your mouth to look like THIS do you?"

The real question is what to do about it beyond my current practice of drinking lots of water and regularly eating cheddar cheese at these large tasting events (which, little to my knowledge, helps neutralize acids). I just hope I don't have to start wearing some wine tasting equivalent of a night guard. How embarrassing would that be?

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Required Reading for Wine Lovers

The Oxford Companion to Wine by Jancis Robinson The Taste of Wine by Emile Peynaud Adventures on the Wine Route by Kermit Lynch Love By the Glass by Dorothy Gaiter & John Brecher Noble Rot by William Echikson The Science of Wine by Jamie Goode The Judgement of Paris by George Taber The Wine Bible by Karen MacNeil The Botanist and the Vintner by Christy Campbell The Emperor of Wine by Elin McCoy The World Atlas of Wine by Hugh Johnson The World's Greatest Wine Estates by Robert M. Parker, Jr.