What Causes Red Wine Teeth Stains
Red wine is a tasty mix of natural dyes, acids, and tannin, three ingredients that work together to etch and stain your teeth. The shockingly red wine teeth you see in your mouth after a marathon of zinfandel tasting is mostly a coating of dyed saliva, but there can be some long-term dulling effects from a chronic diet of dark, acidic wines.
The acids in the wine can actually effect the enamel on your teeth–one of the reasons it is not recommended to brush immediately after drinking wine. The softened teeth can be eroded by your vigorous hygiene, so you should rinse–and wait a bit–before scrubbing those purple teeth. This is actually true of white wines too, but without the deep color it is a less obvious issue. For this reason, it’s always a good idea to drink some water after a wine sipping marathon to purge the acids from your mouth. The tips below will help you increase your resistance to red wine teeth stains.
Tips on Preventing Red Wine Teeth Stains
Red wine teeth stains can be a badge of honor for the social over-drinker, but sometimes we want to keep our pearly whites pearly white…at least until after the group photos.
Drink Sparkling Water
This is my favorite recommendation. Don’t let your mouth dry out. Saliva is the tooth’s bodyguard and it will jump in front of those purple bullets. The more saliva, the better. When it’s time for photos, drink some sparkling water to rinse the purple Snuggie off your teeth. It’s not going to be a cure-all for red wine teeth stains but it’ll certainly reduce the effect. The carbonation will lightly scrub the wine away before it has a chance to set in a stain.
Skip the White Wine
This is a real bummer. Acidic white wine is like sanding and laying a primer before applying a red wine coat of paint. The more acidic the white wine, the more potential damage it can do to your teeth. The acid in wine can erode tooth enamel, stripping the protective coating and etching micro channels in your teeth. This creates a porous canvas for pigmentation to stick onto.
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Brush Your Teeth Before Drinking Wine
Red wine loves to sticks onto plaque. Make sure that your teeth are clean, consider brushing them an hour or so before heading off on a wine drinking binge. Pro Tip: If you brush your teeth right before drinking wine, it will have an adverse affect on your palate… You’ll find the wine won’t be pleasant.
High Fiber Food Pairing
It’s a fun idea. Basically eat high fiber foods and chew away your red wine teeth stains. The fiber acts as a brush and scrubs away the stain, cleaning away the dry saliva. Mix this with the sparkling water plan for maximum effect. Maybe a spinach salad would make the perfect pairing with your next bottle of wine?
Eat More Cheese
… or any protein to build up the calcium in your teeth. Yup, that’s going to be a lot of cheese, but I believe in you! Have you noticed that your teeth get purple much more quickly if you are drinking without eating? Pro Tip: Hard cheeses have more calcium and are generally healthier for your teeth than soft cheeses. Also, eating hard cheeses with wine acts as a polish and fill, closing micro pores in your teeth, making them slightly more stain resistant. Think of it as waxing your teeth; the wine just beads up and rolls off. (dramatization, but you get the idea.)
Beware of Teeth Whitening
This can actually make your teeth more susceptible to red wine staining. Teeth whitening strips enamel off your teeth creating a porous surface for stains to stick onto, similar to what white wine does above. This is a cumulative effect, so everytime you whiten your teeth you make it that much easier to stain them. It’s an epidemic and if you’re not careful all of your teeth are going to deteriorate into grey gummy bears and fall out of your mouth. (another dramatization.. don’t judge me)