You may drink a little more wine than usual during the holidays as you gather around the table with friends and loved ones. Red wine contains antioxidants that promote your general wellness when consumed in moderation. Although your physician may recommend an occasional glass or two, your dentist may not share the same opinion. Red wine can stain your teeth and increase your risk of various dental problems. Here is how you can safeguard your smile to keep your pearly whites healthy and bright.
Red Wine Can Affect Tooth Enamel
Red wine can be a recipe for disaster in many ways, even if you don’t drink it very often. It can cause lasting consequences for your teeth. Here are a few risks you should know about before pouring another glass.
Stains and Discoloration
Grapes and red wine get their color from anthocyanins and they contain tannins, which bind pigment to your enamel. This can stain your teeth. No amount of brushing can remove red wine stains. Only a professional whitening treatment can reverse discoloration.
Wine also contains sweeteners and other sugars. Cavity-causing bacteria feed on sugar, which can erode your enamel over time. Damage to your enamel can result in sensitive teeth and cavities. Your teeth can look darker because more yellowish dentin will be visible through thin enamel.
Alcohol is notorious for causing dehydration, which can make your mouth dry. A dry mouth enhances the damaging effects of red wine. It creates good conditions for oral bacteria growth that can increase your risk of tooth decay and gum disease. You may also experience bad breath from an overgrowth of bacteria.
How to Protect Enamel from Red Wine
If you can’t resist red wine during the holidays, here are a few tips to safeguard your dental health:
- Brush Before Sipping: Brush your teeth before drinking wine to prevent tannins from binding with plaque. This will keep your teeth looking their best. After finishing your glass, rinse your mouth with water before brushing your teeth. Wait at least 30 minutes before reaching for your toothbrush because wine will soften your enamel temporarily. Brushing too soon can scratch your enamel and make your teeth more prone to staining.
- Red Before White: Believe it or not, the order you drink wine is important. White wine is more acidic than red. It’s best to drink red varieties first because it will be less likely to stain your teeth after they have been exposed to white wine.
- Use a Straw: Drinking with a straw will limit its contact with your teeth.
- Stay Hydrated: Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated and combat dry mouth. It will also rinse residue from your teeth to keep them healthy and clean.
Your dentist and physician will agree to drink wine in moderation. You can enjoy a glass with dinner, but give your teeth a little extra attention to keep them their whitest.
About Dr. Puglisi
Dr. Puglisi achieved his dental degree and has been honored as a Fellow of the Academy of General Dentistry. He regularly continues his training to provide the most up-to-date treatment and technologies. He holds memberships with several professional organizations and is an award-winning dentist known for providing superior dentistry. Book an appointment through his website or call (646) 969-9086.