Sometimes spending time with family can make you want to have a drink or two. That might be why red wine has become such a staple at Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners. While a glass of wine can make you smile, it’s also infamous for making that smile darker. If you want to indulge a little bit over the holidays, it’s good to take a few proactive measures to ensure that your teeth stay white. Here’s how red wine can discolor teeth, and what you can do about it.
Why Does Red Wine Stain Teeth?
Red wine gets its color from a compound called anthocyanin, which it shares with many darker fruits. While your teeth look nice and smooth, they’re actually covered in small pores that can absorb this pigment. Just as red wine stains clothes or carpets, this pigment can also soak into your enamel.
This problem is made worse by wine’s acidity, which allows it to erode the top layer of enamel as you drink. That removes one layer of protection that could ordinarily prevent stains from setting in.
How do I Stop Red Wine from Staining my Teeth?
Of course, enjoying red wine in moderation is probably the best way to ensure that it doesn’t stain your teeth. But there are also some other things you can do to protect your pearly whites:
- Brush After Meals: Just like any stain, the longer the red wine sits on your teeth the deeper it will be able to penetrate. Brushing after you finish drinking is a great way to prevent your teeth from discoloring. Wine and toothpaste may not taste the best, but enduring it will be worth it.
- Drink Water: Alcohol can dry out your mouth, so staying hydrated is a great way to wash down wine (and prevent hangovers).
- Eat With your Wine: Certain foods, like hard cheese and fibrous vegetables, can excite saliva production as you eat. That will counter the dry mouth from the alcohol and will wash it away as you drink.
A glass of wine can make any dinner a little bit better, and as long as you take care of your teeth, your smile should stay nice and white.
About the Author
Dr. Saba Abernethy is passionate about dentistry, not only because of her love of science and medicine, but also because of how it allows her to help the people who come to see her. She loves to connect with her patients on a personal level, and she’ll go out of her way to understand your exact needs. Dr. Abernethy is a graduate of the Boston University School of Dental Medicine, and she works hard to keep up with the latest in oral medicine. In fact, she’s earned the title of Fellow from the Academy of General Dentistry in recognition of her commitment to continuing education. If you have any questions about how to take care of your teeth this holiday season, she can be reached at her website or by phone at (401) 333-2700.