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How Can I Drink Red Wine and Not Stain My Teeth?

How Can I Drink Red Wine and Not Stain My Teeth?

red wine

It’s a pretty common dilemma: you love the occasional glass of red wine (or coffee, or tea) but you’re worried about the effect it can have on your teeth. I have tons of patients who come in to ask me what they can do to protect their teeth from getting that dreaded purple stain that, though seemingly temporary, can cause deep, ingrained staining in the long run. If you love to drink red wine but want to keep your pearly whites as pearly as possible, here are a few helpful tips.

1. Brush your teeth before drinking

I know what you’re thinking: “shouldn’t I be brushing after my teeth are all purple?” That may seem like the logical conclusion but in this case, it will do more trouble than good. The acids in wine can temporarily weaken your tooth’s enamel, making it particularly susceptible to abrasion. The harsh bristles of a toothbrush can do a lot of damage to weakened enamel. This is why I encourage people to brush their teeth before drinking red wine (or really anything acidic). Red wine clings to the plaque on teeth — not the teeth themselves. Remove that plaque and the likelihood of temporary and longterm staining decreases.

2. Drink lots of water

If you’re ever worried about something staining your teeth, the first thing you should do is drink a big glass of water. Just like you wash your body with water, you can also wash your teeth with it. Brushing is obviously the best way to clean your teeth. However, after drinking acidic wine, drinking water helps get rid of those stains without risking enamel damage. It also helps with preventing hangovers so there’s really no reason not to stay hydrated!

3. Eat something

This one you have to be careful with because some foods can actually damage the enamel and make the staining worse. I recommend sticking to foods that are high in fiber like broccoli, spinach, and nuts. The mechanics of eating fibrous foods can clean your teeth and help remove some temporary stains. Cheese is another great food to eat if you’re drinking red wine. Not only because they’re a timeless combo but also because the calcium in cheese helps minimize staining. Strawberries, another date night treat, contain malic acid which can help whiten enamel after it’s been stained.

Everything in moderation

As strange as it sounds, just because I’m a dentist doesn’t mean I think you should flush all your Pinot Noir down the toilet. In moderation, people should enjoy everything from sticky candies to black coffee. Follow the simple tips above and make sure to keep your smile as healthy as possible by brushing and flossing regularly.

If you find you have longterm staining (stains that won’t come off with brushing, mouthwash, etc.) come in for a whitening consult. We’ll go over some of your different whitening options and find one that works for you.

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