Red wine is a beverage that plenty of people enjoy during the holidays. However, it is also infamous for staining the teeth; if you’re not careful, your smile could be duller than you like by the time the new year arrives. Why exactly does red wine stain teeth, and is there anything you can do to prevent such discoloration? Your dentist has provided the answers below.
Red Wine and Your Teeth
Like many alcoholic beverages, red wine is acidic. Consequently, it can make your teeth more porous, leaving them more susceptible to staining. This is unfortunate because red wine also contains anthocyanins (the pigments that give the wine its color) as well as special compounds called tannins. In many cases, the tannins can bind the anthocyanins to your teeth, causing stains to appear.
Tips for Avoiding Red Wine Stains
Drinking red wine in moderation or avoiding it altogether can go a long way toward keeping your smile looking bright. If and when you do have a glass, it’s important to take the right precautions to make stains less likely to appear.
Since stains have a tendency to cling to plaque on your teeth, you can lower your risk of dental discoloration by keeping your smile clean. Make a point of brushing and flossing at least 30 minutes prior to drinking red wine. (Of course, it’s important to be diligent about cleaning your teeth regularly anyway in order to minimize your risk for tooth decay and other potentially serious oral health issues.)
In general, you shouldn’t pair red wine with white wine. Even though white wine doesn’t directly cause stains, it is still acidic and can thus potentially make discoloration from other foods and beverages worse. It’s better to enjoy a glass of water with red wine instead; this will help reduce the acidity in your mouth.
It is often a good idea to eat a bit of broccoli, celery, or hard cheese along with your wine. This can help boost saliva production and provides a natural way to scrub away staining particles on your enamel.
If you are particularly concerned about your smile becoming discolored during the holidays, you may want to think about getting some whitening toothpaste. This can make it easier to get rid of any stains that might form on your teeth while also lowering the chances of a new stain forming.
Remember that you can always talk to your dentist to see what advice they have to offer when it comes to protecting your teeth from stains. With the right precautions, you should be able to enjoy your traditional glass of red wine around the holidays while still maintaining a dazzling grin.
About the Author
Dr. Kristopher R. Harth went to dental school at the University of Florida. He has achieved a Mastership in the Academy of General Dentistry – something that less than 1% of dentists have been able to accomplish. At his practice, Ponte Vedra Complete Dentistry, he can use cosmetic treatments such as veneers and teeth whitening to address dental stains. To schedule a consultation with Dr. Harth at his Ponte Vedra Beach practice, visit his website or call (904) 285-7711.