If you enjoy a glass of red wine during holiday get-togethers, you’re not alone. However, even a few glasses of wine during the season can come back to haunt your smile. Your pearly whites can lose their luster from the dark pigments of wine and other beverages. No amount of brushing can reverse tooth discoloration. You don’t have to miss out on the celebrations. Here’s how to combat red wine stains and what you can do to keep your smile its brightest.
Red Wine Can Harm Tooth Enamel
A glass of red wine is known to offer certain health benefits, like reduced risks of cardiovascular disease, Alzheimer’s, and even some cancers. Although it can benefit your general wellness, it can be bad news for your enamel. Red wine can affect your enamel in several ways, like:
- Tooth Discoloration: Anthocyanins give grapes and wine its dark color. Red wine also contains tannins that bind pigments to your teeth, which can seep under your enamel through small pores.
- Enamel Loss: Wine is acidic and contains sugars and sweeteners, which are bad news for your enamel. Although your enamel is the hardest substance in your body, sugary and acidic foods and drinks can break it down over time. Enamel doesn’t grow back, placing you at risk of cavities, sensitivity, and tooth discoloration.
- A Dry Mouth: Alcohol causes dehydration, which will decrease saliva production. A dry mouth is a sign of dehydration. Not only is your well-being at risk, but a dry mouth is a perfect environment for oral bacteria growth that can lead to decay, infections, and bad breath.
Safeguard Your Smile from Red Wine
Although water is always best, you can enjoy a glass or two of red wine without staining your teeth or harming your oral health by following a few tips:
- Brush Before Drinking: Brush your teeth to remove plaque before drinking dark beverages. Pigments cling to plaque, which can make your teeth look discolored.
- Brush After Drinking: Wine weakens your enamel temporarily, so wait about 30 minutes before brushing your teeth to remove any residue.
- Red Before White: If you enjoy both red and white wine, the order you drink it matters. White wine is more acidic, which can weaken your enamel and make it more vulnerable to stains. Drink red wine before white.
- Drink Through a Straw: Drink dark beverages through a straw to limit their contact with your teeth.
- Stay Hydrated: Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated and keep your mouth moist to combat harmful oral bacteria. Every sip will also rinse your mouth to keep your teeth clean and white.
You can keep your teeth their whitest by moderating stain-causing foods and drinks. Your cosmetic dentist can reverse any discoloration with a whitening treatment.
About Dr. Drew Vanderbrook
Dr. Vanderbrook achieved his dental degree at Baylor College of Dentistry and has regularly continued his education in various specialties, like cosmetic and general dentistry. He is an award-winning dentist and a member of many professional organizations, including the Texas Dental Association. Request an appointment online or call (214) 989-3708.