Wine Stains

by Eunice Fried

Apr 1, 2016
2016

Marsha said, “I love red wine but I only drink white when I’m at a business function. I don’t want to talk to a client when my teeth are stained with wine.” Purple, she added, is her favorite color, just not on her teeth. But with a few precautions, Marsha need not worry. In fact, she might find red wine safer than white. And this is how we can best manage the problem.

Be sure to brush before an event, as brushing leaves less tartar and plaque on teeth, both of which attract the acids, tannin and color in wine.

While the amount of acidity in a wine varies, white generally has more. And the more acidity in that glass, the more it will erode the enamel of teeth and absorb stain. Thus, a glass of white before red almost guarantees a purple smile. The answer: Skip the white and go directly to red, or stay with one or the other. White wine stains as well; it’s just that its light yellow color does not show the way red does.

Take a sip of water between glasses of wine. It helps dilute the effect of the wine’s acid on teeth. Better still, sip sparkling water; the bubbles add a light scrubbing effect. While they won’t completely eliminate a red stain, they help lessen it before it sets.

Eat while imbibing. Firm cheeses, for instance, automatically remove some stain. So do high-fiber foods.

Tuck a few stain wipes in a pocket. One of the more popular brands, Wine Wipes, does just what it says. Wipe one over your teeth and — voilà — the stain is gone. Well, most of it. Best done in the restroom, of course.

After an event, rinse, do not brush, dentists say. At least not immediately. The acidity in wine still coats your teeth, and brushing too soon after downing glasses of red or white can strip more enamel.

All of which means there’s reason to smile at that business function, even with a glass of red wine in hand.

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