It’s the weekend. Maybe you’re dining out or relaxing with friends. You enjoy a glass of wine or two (or three if there’s karaoke). And your smile starts to look like the rim of your glass — slightly but all too noticeably stained.
Drink wine often enough — those wine stains can become permanent overtime. That’s something we commonly see at our dentist office in Middleburg Heights.
Fortunately, there are several fail-safe tricks you can do to avoid stains. Enjoy your Pinot Noir and your sparkling pearly whites. Thanks to these 8 tips on how to drink red wine without staining your teeth or lips, you can have your wine and beautiful smile too!
Brush Before — Not After
It’s the tannins in the wine that cause teeth stains. These tannins cling to any plaque on your teeth. Brush your teeth before you go out. This way, your teeth won’t provide a sticky surface for the tannins.
And yes, we normally encourage you to brush before bed as an important part of your dental health. The exception is if you just drank wine. It seems like common sense to brush after a glass to avoid a stained mouth, but the effect can be exactly the opposite. Wine’s acidity makes your teeth extra sensitive.
Brushing right after wine can damage the enamel and leave permanent stains on your teeth. Instead, wait 20 to 30 minutes after your last glass of wine before brushing. Your saliva will buffer the acid from the wine, and you can safely brush your teeth and gums for a cleaner, healthier smile.
Start with Red
It seems counterintuitive, but you should always start with red wine — and maybe even avoid white wine altogether if you plan on drinking red. The acidity of white wine can erode your enamel. It acts as a primer so that red wine tannins stick to your teeth with more vigor. Start with red first and finish with white. If you drink white first, swish your mouth with water to remove the acid.
Drink Sparkling Water or Seltzer Between Glasses
In between glasses of wine, drink sparkling water or seltzer. This helps to balance your alcohol intake (and keep you singing karaoke in key), but the bubbles can also keep wine stains at bay. Swish the bubbles around in your mouth to loosen any clinging tannins and scrub away stains.
Use Chapstick or Lip Gloss
In addition to your teeth, red wine also tends to stain your lips — especially if they are cracked and dry. Keep your lips moist by regularly applying chapstick, lip gloss, or Vaseline. Not only does this keep your lips from drying out, but it provides a thin layer of added protection against stains.
Cheese perfectly pairs with red wine. The two not only blend nicely together, bringing out intricate flavors you might not otherwise notice, but the cheese also contains calcium that’s great for teeth. The buildup of calcium helps to close tiny micro-pores on the surface and helps prevent wine stains.
Eat Plenty of Fiber
Don’t skip the salad at dinner. Cozy up to the party veggie tray. Eat your greens. Foods high in fiber content like broccoli, Brussels sprouts, spinach and lettuce help to jump-start your saliva glands — scrubbing away wine stains as you chew.
Chewing gum periodically throughout the night increases your saliva flow and provides a natural bath for your teeth. It also helps remove wine breath or other bad breath.
Use Wine Wipes
If you’re planning on drinking wine, keep a pack of wine stain removing wipes in your purse or jacket pocket. Use them on your teeth and lips throughout the night to avoid embarrassing stains. It’s a good idea to apply the wipes throughout the night, perhaps after each glass, to remove the tannins before they really get imbedded.