Italians take on British dentists in a battle royale.
Credit: Aldo Pavan/Getty Images

Sour grapes or righteous anger? Italian politicians have lashed out after British healthcare experts warned of the corrosive dental effects of drinking prosecco.

Various Italian governors and officials have dismissed the claims as “fake news” on Twitter, with one Italian politician claiming that the only effect the drink will have on your mouth is to make you smile.

“The British accuse Prosecco of ruining your teeth, but they know that where there is Prosecco, there is a smile,” Veneto Governor Luca Zaia tweeted.

The grapes for the sparkling wine are grown primarily in Zaia’s home region.

Outrage centered in particular on an article published in the U.K. publication The Guardian, entitled “Save your teeth – and six other reasons to give up prosecco.” The article cited Mervyn Druian of the London Centre for Cosmetic Dentistry in asserting that the combination of sugar and carbonation could produce devastating long-term effects for frequent drinkers, leading to costly dental procedures.

“Prosecco offers a triple whammy of carbonation, sweetness and alcohol, which can put your teeth at risk, leading to sensitivity and enamel erosion,” Damien Walmsley, a scientific adviser for the British Dental Association, confirmed to The Independent.

An Italian dentist hit back saying that the drink carried a similar risk to soft drinks and was only dangerous for those who didn't follow proper dental hygiene, according to the Independent.

The U.K. is a huge market for Italian prosecco, and exports to the U.K. rose by 12 percent in the past year, overtaking French champagne, the London Times reported. London even has an entire festival dedicated to the drink.

With such a large market in the U.K., rumors swirled that perhaps the domestic beer lobby had encouraged British dentists to demonize the Italian bubbly. The dentists in question have fervently denied any such protectionism.