Being a red wine drinker doesn’t mean you have to live with stained teeth. On the other hand, it means you have to be proactive about your dental health.
As you’ve likely seen, your teeth start to appear a light purple shade after you’ve had a few glasses. Over the years, this staining becomes more prominent, turning the enamel to a blue, brown or gray hue.
This process is due to red wine’s composition, which contains a mix of tannin, acids and naturally occurring dyes. When you drink, these substances get into your saliva, which then coats your teeth with its noticeable color. If you’re eating something starchy or haven’t brushed your teeth that day, the shade is more visible: These particles on the surface of your teeth draw in the wine, take on its color and place it right against your enamel.
To avoid this development, as well as any resulting cavities or enamel damage, here’s how you can keep your teeth white while still having a glass of red wine on occasion:
Brush Before Having a Drink
This helps break up any existing food particles on the surface of your teeth, therefore lessening the intensity of the purple shade and potential enamel damage. Even if you brushed your teeth earlier that day, do so right before you pour a glass. Also consider flossing to fully remove any debris that could hold onto dyes and acids.
However, if you forgot this step, avoid brushing after drinking a glass of wine, as this will spread the acid across your teeth, increasing its abrasive properties and resulting damage. Rather, having some water or food like cheese or vegetables to reduce its exposure before you brush next.
Use Sugarless Gum
As the next best strategy, if you can’t access a toothbrush, chew on sugarless gum to activate your salivary glands and remove particles of food from your teeth before having a glass.
Try a Straw
If it works for coffee, it can work for red wine. This step helps bypass your teeth, so that the wine hits your tongue and back of the mouth.
Eat While Drinking
You don’t have to prepare a big meal. Instead, cut up some fibrous vegetables like carrots and celery, or make yourself a cheese plate. Foods containing protein help preserve your enamel, while those high in fiber assist with removing any accumulation and subsequent staining from the surface of your teeth.
At the same time, avoid consuming acid-containing foods while you drink red wine, especially limes and lemons, as these eat away at the enamel and can increase potential staining.
Drink Sparkling Water or Club Soda
Water, in general, helps wash away particles from your teeth, reducing plaque and staining in the process. Sparkling water and club soda take this a step further: The carbonation present increases saliva production to better control any particles sticking to your teeth, including those that may stain. Consider sipping from your wine and a glass of sparkling water, alternating between the two.
Try Teeth Wipes
Teeth wipes provide a quick solution to brush away any accumulation - including both food and red wine - as you’re eating, and conveniently fit into a pocket or purse.
Avoid Switching to White Wine
You might think that a lighter color equals less teeth staining. Yet, white wine can be deceiving. You might not immediately see a purple color after, but white wine’s acidic composition can eat away at enamel, increasing its vulnerability to staining.
Be Careful with Whitening Products
Teeth whitening products often have bleaching or abrasive effects: This can result in some irritation from enamel wearing away. As a red wine drinker, this combination may, in fact, increase staining and simultaneously tooth sensitivity.
As a tooth-friendlier alternative, try the izzo® 4-in-1 Oral Care System. Along with delivering a deeper level of clean and plaque removal in between dental appointments, Premier Dental’s multipart system includes a Polishing Cup Head and Enamel Polishing Paste for safe, effective whiting.