Have you ever taken a sip of a deep red wine and it left a purple tint to your teeth? It's pretty common, and unattractive. Luckily we have some tips to help you avoid this and some insight as to what effect wine has on your teeth.
Susceptible to erosion due to acids, the enamel on your teeth is the part that is most effected by wine since wine is high in acids. In addition to the short-term staining of your teeth caused by wine, long-term dullness of your teeth is a concern. Red wine usually takes the blame for teeth staining because of the obviously darker color it has. It also causes more staining because it's high in chromogens, which can also be found in coffee and tea, other teeth staining drinks. The tannins in red wine can help the chromogens bind to teeth. We can't put all the blame on red wine, though. White wine is very high in acidity which breaks down tooth enamel. When the enamel is broken down it allows food and drinks to penetrate the teeth, thus staining them.
All of this may sound a bit overwhelming for wine drinkers, but there's no reason to stop enjoying your favorite bottle. Dr. John Aylmer, a Weston, FL dentist, says "If a patient tells me they drink a lot of wine, it doesn't raise any great concerns for me, as long as they're sticking to an effective oral-hygiene regimen." Brushing and flossing regularly can help prevent the effects of wine staining your teeth, just like any other foods (sugar, coffee, etc.).
One way to prevent wine from staining your teeth is to brush your teeth beforehand. This will scrub away plaque that wine can stick to. Then wait at least 30 minutes after drinking wine before brushing again to prevent from moving all the acid from wine throughout your mouth.
An even easier trick to prevent staining is to swish water around your mouth periodically while drinking wine to wash away the staining components. Since water is a neutral substance, it restores normal pH levels in your mouth, aiding in the reduction of cavity causing bacteria. It can also help your mouth produce more saliva which fights off bacteria.
Wine does have a lot of positive effects on your teeth, too!
"A study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry found that red-wine antioxidants prevented plaque-causing bacteria from sticking to gum tissue.
In 2014, another study published in that journal showed that wine might help prevent periodontal disease and teeth loss. In the study, wine with added grapeseed extract was effective in fighting three out of five mouth disease–causing bacterial strains.
In 2007, research from Italy's University of Pavia showed that both white and red wine may help prevent the proliferation of streptococci, a type of bacteria associated with cavities, tooth decay and sore throats. Furthermore, another study from the same year found that polyphenols in grape pomace may help inhibit Streptococcus mutans, the dental pathogen that produces tooth-decaying acid and sugary substances called glucans, which can cause plaque.
Among these polyphenols, resveratrol might play a key role. A 2006 study published in the Journal of Periodontology found that resveratrol reduced the amount of gingivitis-related bacteria by up to 60 percent in lab tests on mice, performing better than synthetic alternatives."
- Wine Spectator
So don't hold back from having that glass (or two) of wine because you're afraid of it staining your teeth. Drink up!