Although Asheville is known for its beer, many adults throughout Western North Carolina have been known to enjoy a glass of red wine now and then. But some people have concerns about red wine stains on their teeth. Are wine-stained teeth a myth? Or can red wine really stain your pearly whites, even with regular dental cleanings?
The Short Answer
Drinking red wine can leave a coating of dark-colored saliva on your teeth, no matter how often you get regular dental cleanings. So if you aren’t careful, you can wind up with telltale red or purple teeth after a wine tasting or an evening out with friends. Left unchecked for long periods, the build-up of tannins and acids in red wine can dull your teeth and leave them looking discolored or stained.
Even with regular dental cleanings, you should take extra care to ensure that your teeth don’t become stained. You might think brushing immediately after drinking a glass of red wine will solve the problem, but that doesn’t work. Brushing after drinking red wine can soften the enamel of your teeth, making you more susceptible to stains. But there are a few things you can do to make sure your teeth stay nice and white between dental cleanings if you are a red wine drinker.
No More Smiling Through Rose-Colored Teeth
Brush first, before you have that first glass. Having a layer of plaque on your teeth makes the dark-colored wine stick to them more easily, leading to a greater chance of stains developing. Brush your teeth an hour or so before you plan to raise your glass and you’ll help stop stained teeth before they start. And of course, continue to brush regularly as directed by your dentist.
Ironically, another piece of advice is to avoid white wine. Even though it doesn’t have the dark color that causes stains, white wine can be very acidic. The acid erodes the enamel on your teeth, leaving them more porous so that they’ll soak up more of the tannins that cause stains.
Complement the Drink
Eat a healthful diet. When you go for your dental cleanings, your dentist or hygienist probably reminds you to eat a diet high in calcium to keep your teeth strong and healthy. Eating foods rich in calcium and vitamins C and D helps your overall dental health and makes stains less likely to occur. Try to get vitamin C from foods such as strawberries and cauliflower, and limit citrus fruits, which can damage the protective enamel on your teeth.
Drink sparkling water. You know how club soda is the go-to for cleaning up red wine spills? It works the same way in your mouth — or it at least helps keep stains at bay. If you love red wine but want to get a glowing review at your next dental cleaning, sip sparkling water between glasses of wine. It helps rinse the dyed saliva away from your teeth so they stay shiny and white.
Don’t Ignore the Dentist
These tips help prevent red wine stains on your teeth, but it’s still essential to have regular dental cleanings. Professional cleaning, along with a daily brushing and flossing, will help ensure that you can raise your glass with a confident smile for every happy toast.
—The Zöe Dental Team