The holidays are here which for many people means gatherings with co-workers or parties with family and friends. Of course, it’s the time to be merry so you’ll probably be offered a glass of wine. Did you know, though, that this seasonal beverage contains tannins that can darken your teeth? Your dentist could tell you that red wine is especially infamous for staining and is a holiday favorite. Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to prevent damage and discoloration. Keep reading to learn about 4 of them!
#1: Brush Beforehand
It’s natural to want to brush your teeth if you’ve just polished off a glass of your favorite merlot or cabernet and notice them looking ruddy. Doing so, however, might further spread the toxic ingredients around your mouth. Not only that, but the acid in wine can weaken your enamel which then is injured further when you brush.
Instead, scrub your teeth ahead of time. Staining ingredients cling to plaque, so clearing away the residue first ensures there’s nothing for them to stick to.
#2: Chase It with Water
Once you’ve finished your wine, it’s a great idea to follow it up with a glass of water for several reasons.
- You’ll rinse away any particles left behind from your earlier beverage, making them less likely to impact your teeth.
- Wine is also a diuretic which can cause dehydration. Chasing it with water will keep you refreshed.
- The acid in wine is neutralized by water and is therefore less likely to erode your enamel.
#3: Eat While Drinking
Some foods, like cheese and vegetables, act as a natural barrier to protect your pearly whites from the harmful ingredients in wine. They stimulate saliva flow that reduces the acid content while simultaneously restoring much-needed minerals to areas of your teeth. Fibrous foods like broccoli, celery, and hard cheese also naturally scrub away discoloration.
#4: Whiten with Toothpaste
Wine stains are external, meaning that they exist on the outside surface of your teeth. Fortunately for you, that means they can be reduced or removed with whitening treatments. A simple whitening toothpaste can gradually remove tinting left behind by red wine. If you feel that’s not sufficient, ask your dentist if they provide teeth whitening procedures. They may have access to professional-grade materials for more effective results.
Though red wine can be problematic for your teeth, following these tips can keep them safe and give you some much-needed peace of mind this holiday season.
About the Author
Dr. Les Latner provides a full range of dental services to patients of all ages. He graduated from the Washington University School of Dental Medicine in St. Louis and is one of less than 10 dentists with accreditation in both the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry as well as a mastership in the Academy of General Dentistry. Whether you’re looking for a simple checkup or are interested in cosmetic treatments like teeth whitening, he can help! He and his dedicated dental team are happy to help you schedule an appointment. You are welcome to contact the office on the website or by calling (310) 765-7441.