Americans are obsessed with beautifully white teeth. But that doesn’t stop us from indulging in our morning coffee or the occasional glass of vino – both of which are known to counter all our whitening efforts.
But how serious is this staining, and what can we do about it?
When it comes to wine, both red and white (and all colors in between) can stain teeth. All contain acid, which can etch our tooth enamel and leave it vulnerable to staining from the pigments in wine. Red wine, of course, produces a more immediate and noticeable result.
Plaque buildup on your teeth can also absorb the color-containing compounds present in wine. The better you brush and floss on a daily basis, the less you’ll experience this type of staining.
Is tooth staining from wine permanent? In most cases, no. A consistent routine of proper brushing and flossing will help your tooth enamel remineralize and prevent tooth decay.
You can also keep discoloration at bay during your next glass by:
- Enjoying some cheese with that wine (duh!). Experts recommend eating cheese, as it coats your teeth with a thin layer of wax that prevents wine from coming in as much contact with your enamel. Plus, cheese helps remineralize your enamel.
- Munching on fresh veggies like carrots or celery. Crunchy veggies can help brush away debris left on teeth, and the production of saliva during chewing helps clean your teeth too.
- Keeping a glass of still or sparkling water nearby to occasionally sip while enjoying your glass of wine.
- Limiting your alcohol intake. The more your teeth interact with the acid and pigments in wine, the more staining or other effects you’ll experience. If you have trouble limiting your intake, it is important to seek help, as this may be an indication of an alcohol addiction.
- Waiting at least 30 minutes to brush your teeth. While it may be tempting to brush the stains away immediately, the soft nature of your enamel after drinking can cause unwanted abrasion.
Finally, make sure to keep up with your routine dental visits to clean your teeth, get an inside look with dental x-rays, and keep your mouth in tip-top shape for a lifetime.
If you are concerned about your drinking habits, please seek help. You can call the National Helpline, connect with Alcoholics Anonymous, or reach out to someone you trust.